In a move to help conserve the environment, Safaricom has launched eco-friendly carry bags to replace the plastic bags used in its retail shops, making it the second firm after Nakumatt Holdings to comply with the announced plastic ban,
In a statement, Steve Okeyo, Director – Regional Sales and Operations, Safaricom said, “By phasing out plastic carry bags, we reaffirm our commitment in taking our moral responsibility to manage our environmental impact very seriously, recognizing that environmental considerations are not separate from our core business, but an integral part of our overall business strategy.”
The new bags can be reused multiple times unlike the plastic bags which are mostly used once and discarded. The switch to the eco-friendly bags will also save the company an average of KSh10 million per year.
According to UN Environment, more than 8 million tons of plastic waste leaks into the ocean each year which is equivalent to dumping a garbage truck of plastic every minute.
Some estimates put plastic pollution as the cause of death for 100 million marine animals every year, while a study from Imperial College London last year concluded that plastic will be found in 99 per cent of seabirds by 2050.
Kenya, through the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources has banned the use, manufacture and importation of all plastic bags used for commercial and household packaging from September, 2017.
“We applaud Safaricom’s bold step in becoming one of the first companies to stop the use of plastic bags in their shops. We need more companies to invest in the production of alternative bags because protecting the environment is not a role you leave to the government alone but each one of us including the business community need to do work together,” said Prof Judi Wakhungu, Cabinet Secretary – Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.
The launch of the bags is also in line with Safaricom’s commitment to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12, which calls for responsible Consumption and Production.