Myth vs Reality about Plastic Bag Usage
Myth: Life cannot go on without plastic bags. There is no alternative.
Reality: Life would be beautiful without plastic bags. There are many alternatives such as bags made of natural materials like jute, cotton and used-newspaper in market today.
Myth: Plastic bags are very cheap compared to other bags. They are available for free.
Reality: Plastic bags are the most expensive packaging option. Shopkeepers hide their true cost in the price of the products. A cotton/jute bag worth ksh. 200 replaces 100 plastic bags worth ksh. 500. This makes plastic bags 2.5 more expensive.
Myth: Billions of money invested in the plastic bag industries would be lost.
Reality: Plastic Bags are a very miniscule part of the overall plastic industry. Plastic industry makes most of its money by selling other plastic products. Global data shows that only 2.5% of the overall ‘plastic industry’ investment is made in the ‘plastic bag industry.’
Myth: This campaign is trying to ban all plastic products.
Reality: This campaign is asking to ban ‘plastic bags’ only. Many other thick-plastic products like plastic bottles are commercially recyclable. Plastic bags are commercially unfeasible to recycle and therefore, a majority of them are not recycled.
Myth: Banning plastic bags would harm Kenya’s economy. It will take away jobs.
Reality: Banning plastic bags is good for Kenya’s economy. Doing so promotes usage of biodegradable bags made of Jute I.e, kiondo – all of them made in Kenya. These greener alternatives would produce tens of thousands of additional jobs in Kenya.
Myth: We cannot throw our waste without plastic bags. We cannot buy wet products like meat without plastic bags.
Reality: We can store/throw our waste better by using reusable Garbage Bins. We can buy products like meat using re-usable containers. Experience from other countries, that have banned plastic bags, shows that residents quickly change their habit and start carrying containers to buy wet products like meat, and loose item like lentil and sugar.
Myth: Banning plastic bags is a foreign agenda.
Reality: Using plastic bags is a foreign agenda. Most of money made in selling plastic bags goes outside Kenya to foreign countries. The Ban order is directed by Kenya’s parliament, and is issued by the Ministry of Environment.
Myth: Plastic bags are recyclable. Managing plastic bags is better than banning it.
Reality: Plastic Bags are commercially non-recyclable. The worldwide experience shows that banning is the only practical solution. Even in the most advanced countries like USA, only less than 7% plastic bags are recycled, with most of them ending up in landfills or oceans.
Myth: This is an emotional campaign not based on pragmatic thinking.
Reality: This is a well thought-out campaign based on careful thinking and research on global experience. This campaign has won the approval and support of Kenya’s most successful entrepreneurs. Safaricom recently launched their eco bags on world environmental day 5th June 2017.Check the video below.
Myth: Plastic Bags are not banned anywhere in the world.
Reality: Plastic Bags are banned in many countries around the world, including our own neighbors such as Rwanda, other east Africa countries and other countries such as China, Bhutan, Bangladesh and many parts of India. California, the seventh largest economy in the world, recently banned it.
Myth: The waste collectors would not pick up waste without them being stashed in plastic bags
Reality: The waste collectors prefer plastic-bags getting banned. By working with waste workers through our “Nagarmitra- the friends of the city” social initiative, we learnt that the waste collectors prefer that households and offices dispose their waste in segregated form directly in their rickshaws, which is easy to practice if Plastic bags are banned. (Nepal case study)
Myth: The customers would not buy other bags like cotton/ jute bags.
Reality: The customers happily buy other bags like cotton/ jute bags. Just in the last 1 weeks, we, volunteers, involved with “Environment 254 Eco bags ” initiative, sold 1,500 eco-bags to customers in Nairobi Metropolitan area. This proves that customers love alternatives if they are easily available.
Myth: The retailers would hate the plastic bag ban.
Reality: The retailers like the plastic bag ban, since they are aware of the plastic bag menace.