Shoppers who spend more than $50 at certain supermarkets this week will receive a free reusable shopping bag.
Insurer and reinsurer Axa XL has teamed with the grocery stores to help raise awareness of the damage being done to the oceans by plastics and other marine debris.
Shoppers who buy more than $50 of groceries will get one free bag, while those who spend more than $100 will get two.
The bags features artwork by local photographer Meredith Andrews, showing a variety of plastic waste found on Bermuda’s shores.
The stores taking part in the ocean protection education campaign are Harrington Hundreds in Smiths, Lindo’s Market in Devonshire and Lindo’s Family Foods in Warwick, The Supermart in Hamilton and Somer’s Supermart in St George’s as well as The MarketPlace stores.
“Research has shown that 80 per cent of all marine debris is plastic and that by the year 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean,” said Patrick Tannock, chief executive officer of Axa XL’s Bermuda insurance operations and president of the XL Foundation, the company’s Bermuda-based philanthropic unit.
“As an island, we in Bermuda rely heavily on the ocean. Last year our company, with scientific and Bermuda-based partners, sponsored Bermuda’s first Ocean Risk Summit.
“The summit brought together representatives of governments, the finance sector, the (re)insurance industry and other sectors to consider specific risks posed by changes in the world’s oceans caused by climate change and other man-made impacts.
“It focused on how governments and the business sector need to work together to address these risks. By collaborating with many of the island’s grocers in this new initiative, we aim to increase greater awareness and understanding of how we all can and must do our part to protect the ocean for ourselves and future generations.”
Zach Moniz, Lindo’s Group of Companies manager, said: “Lindo’s is proud to be working with Axa XL, Supermart, Harrington Hundreds, and Marketplace on this exciting new initiative to reduce our shared consumption of plastic. We admire and are inspired by the talented people at Axa XL who developed this idea and we look forward to a future ahead with less plastic.”
Tredick Gorham, president of The Supermart Ltd, said: “We are committed to reducing single-use packaging materials. This initiative highlights the importance of reusable bags and should reduce the need for single-use paper and plastic.”
Harrington Hundreds owner Anthony Aguiar, said: “Each day every one of us must do at least one thing that makes our planet a better place to live.”
Seth Stutzman, president of The MarketPlace group of stores, said: “We are in full support of this initiative. As part of our ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability we are working aggressively to eliminate single-use plastics, continue to offer environmentally safe products for our customers and have introduced biodegradable take-out containers for our food court. The bags will be provided to customers for our online ordering service in addition to in-store availability.”