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Thu 1 Mar 2007 12:38 PM

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Carrefour bags green campaign

Carrefour, one of the UAE's leading hypermarket groups, has introduced re-usable carrier bags to its checkouts in a bid to encourage customers to re-use bags and reduce plastic waste.

Carrefour, one of the UAE's leading hypermarket groups, has introduced re-usable carrier bags to its checkouts in a bid to encourage customers to re-use bags and reduce plastic waste. The move follows numerous green initiatives instigated by European retailers including Tesco and Sainsbury's, but is one of the first developments of its kind in the Middle East.

The initiative will encourage customers to purchase their own big reusable bags at the checkout for AED2. Furthermore, if damaged at any point, the bags will be replaced free of charge at any Carrefour outlet.

"It's no secret that plastic bags are one of the major causes of pollution and waste in the world today," said Jean Luc Graziato, vice president of marketing and sourcing at MAF Hypermarkets, which runs Carrefour outlets in the Middle East. "At Carrefour we want to contribute by at least encouraging people in the UAE to reduce the amount of plastic bags that they use when shopping at our stores. By using the bag four times, you will be reducing the usage of plastic bags by 18%. By using the bag 20 times, you will be reducing the usage of plastic bags by 82%."

While it is unclear how much impact the initiative will have on consumer behaviour, the move was welcomed by the Emirates Diving Association, which has voiced concern about the effects of plastic litter such as carrier bags on marine wildlife for a number of years.

Ibrahim Al Zu' bi, Advisor to the Emirates Diving Association said: "We are happy that Carrefour is contributing positively to help reduce the amount of plastic bags in the UAE. This initiative will first help protect the marine environment, especially since plastic bags end up most of the time in the sea. In turn, marine creatures like Turtles and dolphins eat these bags thinking that they are jelly fish which unfortunately leads to their death."

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