Cayman shoppers wave goodbye to the plastic bag

| 21/05/2010

(CNS): All three of Cayman’s leading supermarkets have reported a great response from their customers in the goal to eliminate the plastic bag. Following the announcement that Fosters, Kirks and Hurleys had all got behind the Cayman BECOME campaign, launched at the beginning of April, and would be charging 5 cents for plastic bags from in June, shoppers are turning to reusable bags. All three grocery stores say that sales of their shopping bags have soared and even before the free ride on plastic bags is over shoppers are turning their backs on plastic.

Raquel Solomon from Fosters Food Fair said the demand for reusable bags had increased significantly. “Over the month of April we sold six times the monthly average of reusable bags that we were getting through last year – the campaign does seem to be making a real difference,” she added.
As part of the campaign, the islands three leading supermarkets will all introduce a 5 cents charge per plastic bag used from 9 June onwards. The prospect of paying for plastic bags seems to have worked and prompted many shoppers to buy reusable bags.
Charles Jury from Kirk Supermarket also said he had seen a big increase in the number of reusable bags people are purchasing, as well as a significant rise in the number of customers actually bringing their own bags to the store. “We estimate around twiceas many of our customers are doing this now, compared to before,” Jury noted.
New signs in the car parks outside Fosters Food Fair stores and Kirk Supermarket are a great prompt to remind customers to take their bags with them when they head inside the store.
Meanwhile, up in Grand Harbour Hurley’s has also seen an increase in demand for their in-store reusable bags. Vinton Smithson said stocks were sold out within a week of the announcement of the campaign. “Customers are really taking it on board and are pleased to be involved in this initiative,” he said.
Stores will be implementing in-store promotions on reusable bags, so the public is encouraged to keep an eye out for these, which will provide opportunities to pick up free bags and discounted bags. The Cayman BECOME campaign will also be giving away a limited amount of free campaign branded reusable bags on the morning of 12 June at all Fosters Food Fair stores, Kirk Supermarket and Hurley’s.
Tara Tvedt from dms Organization Ltd, a member of the Corporate Green Team Network who has been joint project managing Cayman BECOME said it was fantastic that the public had been so receptive to the call to action.
“As the word gets out there, more and more people have started to bring their own bags when they shop,” Tvedt stated. “We expect this to have a significant impact on the 12 million plus plastic bags that are thrown away annually here on Grand Cayman. Although this is still a baby step in terms of addressing the solid waste management issues faced here in the Cayman Islands, it is a great start and demonstrates that the local community does care about this issue and is willing to change their habits to make a difference”.
Members of Cayman Become hope to encourage people to take these small steps eventually adding up to positive change. For more information on Cayman BECOME and what to expect, go to
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  1. Lyp O'Sucshean says:

    I will just pay for the plastic bags because I can’t be bothered with the hassle.

  2. Anonymous says:

    WOW! Some people are so afraid of change. I am excited about this and even ordered extra large bright coloured canvas totes for groceries and reusable mesh produce bags! This is a good "green" thing. We may be several years late, but we are catching up with the rest of the world 🙂


  3. Anonymous9 says:

    I have been re-using my plastic grocery bags for years to wrap up stinky trash so that I don’t have to take out the kitchen trash every day and cleaning the kitty litter box. However, a couple of the stores have been using such cheap bags that sometimes my groceries barely make it inthe house, much less be able to use them again for anything else.

    These reusable bags aren’t made of long lasting materials!! I’ve already been thru several that have ripped.

    Wash them???  I wouldn’t wash them, wouldn’t even have considered that… How dirty are groceries that you put in your fridge and cabinets anyway?

    Thems my 2 centavos

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t know what reusable bags you are using that are so crappy.  I have some from Kirks, Fosters, Priced Right/CostuLess (I forget which) and also one of those Eco bags.  Not one of them is as you describe – I use them every shopping trip every week for the last two years.  I wash them regularly.  They’re as strong now as they were when I bought them – 3-4 times stronger than the doubled-up plastic bags the supermarket used to send me home with, and can hold 3-4 times the capacity too.

      So I’m interested, as these reusable bags on-island are all branded – which brand is yours?

      • Anonymous9 says:

        Hm.. I’m not actually sure (threw it away) I have several different ones that I use.  That’s crazy that yours have lasted that long!!

        I’m not bothered though, I have collected enough free ones at the business expos that I’ve given them to friends and when I find the woven/mesh ones, I will eventually replace them with sturdier, more fashionable ones…!!

        I love it. They’ve been doing it in Europe for decades.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Well done Cayman! This is a good start to saving the environment here!

  5. Chimera says:

    I will probably shop wherever has the cheapest plastic bags.

  6. Hallowe'en Jack says:

    While most people on here are taking the "holier than thou" approach, I am going to be honest and say that the only impact of this move is that I will be spending an extra $1 a week or less on groceries because I will not be bothered messing around will reusable bags.  And that is probably the position most people will take, thought they might not admit it.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The charge should be 25 cents per bag, 20 cents of which should be payable to Government to help deal with the garbage of those persons who insist on using them.

  8. Anonymous says:

    So, is it going to be okay for me to leave Fosters with my reusable Hurley’s bag? May be damaging to their marketing efforts?

  9. Mudblood says:

    I find it ironic that we are so happy about this minor move in a place where we sell black coral, keep dolphins caged up and eat turtle.

    • Anonymous says:

      ….and dig up mangroves for fill so 50 people can show the world they’ve ‘made it’ 

      • Anonymous says:

         ….And destroy one of the very last natural strips of SMB so 5 people can show the world they’ve really made it

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, you are right, but we still have to celebrate the successes.

      One step at the time, better than no progress made at all

  10. Anonymous says:

    I for one am very happy about this, I’ve been taking my own bags to the grocery store for more than 5 years (and I don’t think they are unsanitary.)  Maybe now the cashiers will stop looking at me like I’m crazy when I refuse plastic.  This isn’t really new to Cayman, reusable bags were given away at the 2007 Island Living Show.  I believe it was Cayman27 who had these green bags made, in addition to giving one to each person who entered the show, they gave hundreds to charities like Cayman Hospice Care, who sold them for a minimal price and that money went to the charity.  Now if we could just recyle newspapers, bottles and other plastic.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Great! About time they start doing something to get rid of some plastic. I want those companies who hand out plastic bags etc. to join and set up a recycling company so we can get rid of more of these plastic containers like water bottles, milk bottles, plastic cups etc. etc. 

    Years ago I called up the Newspaper companies about recycling the news papers – not much has been done! All kinds of excuses were given to me.  Please ‘do something’ shopkeepers/offices/magazine companies/newspaper companies!!

  12. Anonymous says:

    This is just another ploy by the Cayman Merchants to make themselves richer while the poor gets poorer.

    These people surely know how to nickle and dime you to death.

    You have to dish out a dollar for each reusable bag that will become unsanitary after a few uses and have to be dumped, or you dish out money for the plastic bags that the supermarket claim is 100 percent biodegradable.

    The one dollar bags seem to be made of synthetic materials which are not biodegradable hence we are simply replacing the plastic in the landfill with another form of non biodegradable garbage.

    Unfortunately they sell the food. We buy it and pay the price or starve while the DEH/DOE looks on and condones what the merchants do to us.

    • Anonymous says:

      At 5cents per bag it turns out that this is another revinue stream for the merchants because the cost of the same bags from Priced Rite is less than 2cents each if you buy a box of 1000. I think maybe I should stand outside the Supermarket doors and make myself a nice profit while undercutting them.

      • Anonymous says:

        I have a couple of those Priced Right bags and they are not of good quality. The best quality bags sold at the grocery stores are in my opinion Foster’s. I love the "I (heart) Cayman" bags from Kirk’s, but the straps are a little on the thin side & not as durable. Hurley’s isn’t in my neck of the woods so cannot comment on their bags.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ever heard of a washing machine? I’m pretty sure they can be washed. Or do you not own one of those either, because you refuse to pay CUC?

      • Anonymous says:

        You are not anonymous. If you know so much about me you must be my wife, or you think everyone has the same mentality as you do.

        Of course I hate to pay CUC and I dont own a washing machine.

        If you will wash my dirty bags for me let me know and I may reconsider my position.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Will we be getting discount now on plastic garbage bags that will have to be purchased from the same supermarkets that will be charging for plastic shopping bags that were being used as garbage bags?

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you kidding me? You are going to complain about not receiving a few cents back versus applauding the fact that some positive action has finally been taken to reduce the amount of non-recyclables on the island and do something positive for the environment? Please get some perspective on this. We should be applauding these stores and if they make a few more cents (that perhaps won’t be translated into rising food costs) then so what?

      • Just because.... says:

        Where do you see a complaint in my comments? Simply fact….what do you put your garbage in?

        Why and what are you applauding exactly?

      • Just because.... says:

        The ‘so what’ atthe end of your comment says it all sweetheart.

      • Just because.... says:

        what do you put your garbage in?

      • noname says:

        You are expecting Chickens to bark. What the blind see is different from those with eyes.

      • Anonymous says:

        I dont know about anyone else, but i always recycled my plastic grocery bags at least one more time – by using them to wrap household garbage and put in the dumpster. That too is recycling. 

        While i applaud the effort (12 million plastic bags in the dump per annum is huge) – are we really going to benefit from this effort?  

        What will people now use to wrap their household garbage in?  I guess we have to buy large PLASTIC trash bags.  Ok – that means more out of pocket expense for me, but what about poor people.  They will eaither have to pay for the plastic grocery bags, buy the large pupose made heavy duty plastic garbage bags; or maybe just dump the garbage straight into the bins without a bag. Many dont have bins so are they just going to dump the trash on the street. I know plenty of other places where the people do that, so its not impossible.

        I hope Environmental Health is ready for the mess and health risks this noble effort is likely to create.

  14. Anonymous says:

    well done to the private sector for bringing in this initative by themselves…..

    i wonder how long it would have taken the gov to bring in something similar…….

  15. Anonymous says:


    “All three grocery stores say that sales of their shopping bags have soared”……..Are the funds received being donated???
    …..or this is just another way of making additional profit against the soaring tag prices already in these stores!!
    • Aghast says:

      What the Heck are you thinking, if at all.The grocery stores are not charities.

      Maybe they should have been overtly charging for the bags all along instead of including it the price, whether you used their plastic bags or not?

      Competition dictates pricing.

      The people who have been using re-usable bags have been subsidizing all the rest of the shoppers who used the "free" plastic bags.

      You buy the re-useable bags and if you remember to bring them with you, they may last for a couple of years or more. Many of these bags have been given away during special promotions. Or you could take a folding wheeled cart, a backpack, or even a wheeled suitcase, anything that is reusable instead of disposable.

      Another writer mentioned that they were using the plastic shopping bags to line their trash bins, which is a very good start in re-cycling and reducing waste. A good point though is, that if you just go out and buy disposable garbage bags, your household will not really be reducing their waste. Perhaps not throwing out every plastic bag because it has been used once and hasa tissue or newspaper in it would also help, or just use a washable bin?, (cleaned with bio-degradable soap of course).

  16. Anya Solomon says:

    This is absolutely Brill, Love it! <3

  17. Anonymous says:

    Why can’t the supermarkets just stop providing the plastic bags, just get rid of them?  People would then have to take bags of their own to carry groceries.  What did people do before the invention of plastic bags?!

    • Anonymous says:

      They should follow same as Cost-u-less which they NEVER has plastic bags yet people still shop there. Outlaw plastic bags!

      • Just because.... says:

        What do you put your garbage in?

        • Anonymous says:

          Glad 13 gallon kitshen garbage bags.   BSC! 

          Which you don’t see blown into bushes all over Cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      We used paper bags remember!!!…..or maybe that was before your time.

      • Hallowe'en Jack says:

        Paper bags – the bane of grocery shopping in the US.  The rip, the turn to mush in the rain (we do get a lot of rain remember?) and they are impossible to carry.


  18. March Forth says:

    This right here is a Travesty! Maceewa need to get back here now and put a stop to this or me and Chuckie goin March on the Glasshouse.

    I done know they not chargin me for no plastic bag, I rather eat Soldier Crab fust.

    Next ting you know they be trying charge me for my gasoline at the Public Works compound too.

    No Suh!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Next target the book stores, clothing stores etc. All places where purchases are small enough that they can easily go in a reuseable bag! I have some which fold up in to small carrying cases and they fit in my handbag … so I can’t forget them in the car!

    • Just because.... says:

      Wow….let’s all be brainwashed now with everything  because of plastic bags! Don’t walk into a store anymore… will be grilled and made to feel guilty because you will be ‘targeted’ ….enjoy shopping!

      Keep your little bags in your little whatever, thats your choice.

      Don’t come near babe when I shopping..