Gibbons Company is to introduce new, reusable and recyclable shopping bags in a bid to help reduce the amount of plastic waste in the ocean.
The new bags are made out of recycled plastic water bottles and are designed with an ocean theme.
They come in three different sizes and will replace the single-use biodegradable plastic bags that are now offered.
Throughout the months of December and January the bags will be distributed for free with purchase.
The store will also reward customers who reuse their bags when shopping at Gibbons Company by giving a $1 credit on their purchase.
Paula Clarke, chief executive of Gibbons Company, said: “Bermuda has a unique connection to the ocean and we no longer wanted to be a part of the problem of increasing the amount of plastics that end up in our ocean; we need to be part of a solution.
“Our ecosystem is precious to us, it provides and sustains life for not only us as humans but also other species, especially our endemic ones.
“Therefore, we feel empowered to help reduce the amount of plastics and their negative impact of pollution, poison and disrupting food chains. The reusable bags are a step in the right direction and I encourage shoppers to bring them back to shop and reuse them in other areas of life.”
From February, Gibbons will charge $1 per reusable bag with part of the revenues going to charity. The Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute was chosen as the first recipient for a charitable donation because of its commitment to protecting the ocean.
Tara Curtis, chief executive of BUEI, said: “Change is necessary. We congratulate and commend the Gibbons Company for taking a leading role in the retail industry to help reduce plastic waste.”
Mayor, Charles Gosling, added: “Reusable bags have been a staple around Bermuda for some time now with grocery stores but they have not been heavily advocated for in the retail sector. With the busy festive shopping season upon us, it is important that we are able to refuse those plastic bags that accompany our purchases by having a choice. A slow approach is better than no approach and hopefully in the coming years we will see a drastic reduction in plastic distribution as well as waste around the city.”