This is the time for reflecting on the year that was, and looking ahead to the what is coming. As 2017 ended, Bargain Books Marketing Manager Bianca Adendorff looked back on the year that they decided to say no to single-use plastic shopping bags.

When Bargain Books decided to no longer supply single-use plastic shopping bags to our customers we understood that it would directly impact our business, and that our customers would still need bags to take home their books. Being at the forefront of this change in the book industry, our staff needed to be well informed and be able to explain everything to our customers. Many people don’t understand that the most common substitute for plastic bags, the paper bag, is just as bad if not worse for the environment. After researching this, we opted to manufacture reusable bags and a small range of cotton tote bags, providing the convenience of a lightweight bag that our customers can use to carry their books around. We also keep boxes aside for bulk purchases.

The success that we have experienced with this initiative is thanks to our customers who have faithfully supported our business decision, and we have been inundated with positive messages on our social media platforms throughout the year.

Our staff were instrumental in making this happen, as no fundamental change can be made to the “old way” of doing things without the buy in of the staff who have to sell the idea.

As we look back on the year that has passed, the challenges were worth it, especially when you compare the convenience of a single-use throw-away plastic bag and the damage it causes to the environment, to the training of staff, sourcing of new supplies and suppliers, and logistical challenges. Even storage was a new challenge, as the reusable bags take up a lot more space than the old plastic ones. It wasn’t always easy, but we know that we have made a difference, albeit small. We would like to challenge other retailers to make this change, because only as a group can we change the way things are done.

Thanks to Hayley McLellan of the Two Oceans Aquarium’s Rethink the Bag campaign for her continued support. After all, we are retailers and have had to learn how we impact our surroundings, and what better way to learn than from somebody who is passionate about the environment.

“Our rivers, parks, bays and oceans are full of plastic. We are killing our fish and poisoning our food supply. We simply must make a contribution to sustaining our environment for future generations. The plastic bag levy doesn’t seem to have had the desired effect; hence, Bargain Books has gravitated towards activities that promote awareness of the environment and ways to protect it. By saying NO to single use plastic bags, Bargain Books hopes to really make a huge difference and promote sustainability. We try our best to reuse, reduce and recycle wherever possible and will continue to extend our commitment to the world around us.” – John O’ Sullivan (Managing Member, Bargain Books)

We look forward to yet another year of positive change!

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