Recycling – is it in the bag? Barbados’ Future Centre Trust’s first stage in war on waste is breached, now to get Bajans to follow through…

Barbados’ Future Centre Trust has been very active recently – even acknowledged by Government, selling thousands of cheap recyclable bags at all Super Centre branches. Price Smart began the whole thing very quietly, offering six large bags at $15.99 for members only, of course… Also joining in on the drive includes Collins Pharmacy on Broad Street with their sacks just under five dollars and Carter & Co. whose Tru-Value bags are $2.69 each.

Super Centre’s bags have an edge in that if you shop on the right day with them, then you can earn extra Magna points for using the recyclables. Using these items can do a lot towards removing floating islands of plastic bags on the world’s oceans – I kid you not!

Yet the sad truth of the matter is, you are more likely to see Bajans using these bags to carry schoolbooks or go to a picnic, on the rare occasion they actually put them towards the purpose they were created? They put the goods in a plastic bag and then place the bagged item in the bag…

Most items these days are shrink-wrapped in plastic, the sealed in a plastic casing which almost defy's Wolverine's claws to open, then you put THAT in plastic bag to put in THIS? Can you say REDUNDANT?

Most items these days are shrink-wrapped in plastic, the sealed in a plastic casing which almost defy's Wolverine's claws to open, then you put THAT in plastic bag to put in THIS? Can you say REDUNDANT?

Every time I shop and when I do remember to have the bags with me, I do a better job now I keep them in the trunk of my car, then when I reach the cash register – I almost always get stares… Because I shriek at the cashiers or check-out assistants NOT to bag the items as they are already going in a bag! I get stares like I am from Mars.

That’s the purpose of these bags, so I don’t use plastic!” I explain carefully like  I am speaking a foreign language for the first time. The cashier and check-out ask if I don’t want to separate the detergents from food and hot from cold?

Barbadian society's ecological habits at the moment are not too far from what we do with old buildings - mash them down and put up new ones - instead of considering restoration.

Barbadian society's ecological habits at the moment are not too far from what we do with old buildings: mash them down and put up new ones - instead of considering restoration.

Um, that’s why I brought more than one bag with me?” I state calmly, then start to pack it myself to show them what to do, and if you see the stares –  I feel like I just made the sun set in the east or something. Seriously, invest in quite a few recyclable bags – have one for cold goods, another for cleaning agents and the other for dry goods.

The Earth will thank your great-grandchildren for it. Assuming we lave anything halfway decent for them to appreciate, that is…

2 Responses

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  1. Thanks Ian!! I am happy to say that both Super Centre and A1 Supermarkets are making moves to educate their staff on the use of reusable shopping bags! Time will tell – like all new habits, they take time to settle in.

    We are hopeful the green bags will find their way back to the Supermarkets in due course and are happy to be working with these major chains to get the ball rolling.

    Thanks for the reminder!!

    Nicole

  2. Having moved here from England 18 months ago I was keen to continue the recycling habit we have all had to adopt back there. In fact, you feel really guilty if youi forget your proper shopping bags by leaving them in the car..Must say, have not had too much trouble in getting the girls and guys packing the bags to organize things properly – i.e. cold stuff in the insulated bags, cleaning items together etc. Just must remember to keep taking the bags with me. So much more needs to be done in Barbados with regards to recycling – the bags issue is just the tip of the iceberg. In England, we do not expect to be paid to recycle our rubbish – in fact, we pay, through council taxes, to have it recycled. And woe betide anyone who puts the wrong kind of garbage in the wrong bin – that can lead to a fine and worse – imprisonment. I kid you not. I feel so bad putting cans and glass and paper in the garbage bin but it is not easy to find anywhere to take these things. I’m sure it is too much to ask that the Government gets involved in some kind of collection programme? Probably wouldn’t work with the local population expecting to be paid for every bit of garbage they recycle. Oh well, will just carry on doing what I can and hope things improve soon – the landfill shouldn’t have to cope with all the stuff we put out every week. Lesley

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