On 28th August 2017 there was a historic decision made by the Kenyan Government, where the plastic ban finally was enforced. This momentous decision was met with its own kind of protests especially from plastic bags manufacturers but as the weeks proceeded the pattern soon set it and shoppers got used to bringing their own cloth bags or buying from the till.
Before the year closed, Uasin Gishu County became the first one to ban supermarkets from charging shoppers for their bags. The assumption is that perhaps the same should apply across the rest of the country. This is a challenge because each county has slightly different consumer trends. There however can be a blanket rule for shopping malls and especially retail clothes shops not to charge their shoppers for the bags, whichever type they may be. It is very ridiculous to expect a shopper who is buying clothing items, which are on average worth KES 500 to pay for another KES 10 for a bag.
When it comes to the supermarkets, the charge should remain because this has a domino effect in the running of the household. Buying foodstuffs and other condiments is an almost weekly or monthly ritual for most shoppers. The way they run their homes and especially kitchens will depend on the use of these bags. This means planning and of course a last minute shopping situation may not be conducive. Here’s the thing, if your store room is not in order then your shopping is bound to be haywire. While the staff at the supermarket tills needs training, you must take initiative too. The days of relying on them to pack the items are over and perhaps this is the beginning of the Western type of shopping, where you do almost everything and pay too!
When the supermarkets were using plastic bags they never passed on the bill to the shopper, just imagine how cheap we were treating our environment. In the UK shops that have over 250 staff are meant to charge a minimum 5p for their plastic shopping bags. Smaller shops are meant to give them free. The cloth bags industry are cashing in and making money with this entire process but then again they have created jobs and are good for the environment. Shoppers should get used to having their shopping bags/boxes in their vehicles (Kenyans have plenty of cars and big ones too) all the time for their shopping needs. Forgetting to carry them is your problem and if you have to pay, then you should not crib about it.
The plastic bags industry was toxic and that’s why when it ended it hurt those who were killing the environment. Being a responsible human is costly, well then it is too bad, the Earth was given to you for free.