Kudos to Hurley’s for going green

| 08/06/2018 | 10 Comments

World Oceans Day(Auntie): Today is World Oceans Day, so this seems like a very good day to recognise Hurley’s for a total switch from plastic to paper shopping bags, having awarded Jacques Scott for the same thing last month. However, I have to note that I did contact the other main supermarkets about their policy on this and there are good arguments for not going all paper right now, which are outlined below.

In the meantime, I congratulate all three supermarkets for moving towards greener policies and the Cayman community as a whole for starting to get to grips with this issue. And not before time.

I’m going to note here, though I’m sure we’ll hear more about it, that in support of World Oceans Day today, Friday 8 June, the schoolchildren of Cayman and the National Trust for the Cayman Islands have delivered letters to Environment Minister Dwayne Seymour, urging the Cayman Islands Government to take a stand against plastic pollution by banning single-use plastics.

Way back in 2010, Foster’s, Hurley’s and Kirk supermarkets all replaced all non-degradable plastic shopping bags with biodegradable plastic versions and introduced a charge of 5 cents per bag to encourage shoppers to switch to reusable bags. While a step in the right direction, these bio-degradable bags can still kill marine life, notably our endangered sea turtles, if they get into the water. For more on this, here’s an explanation on the Ocean Crusaders website.

Thom Guyton, managing director of Kirk Market, brought up another very good point, which is the carbon footprint of the paper/plastic bag decision. He said that the store looked into paper bags made with recycled materials printed with water-based, and thus non-toxic, inks. But they concluded that “while plastic is not ideal, paper was also not the answer to minimising waste and protecting the environment”, pointing to the “higher carbon footprint from forestry, manufacturing, shipping and disposal”.

The store has therefore decided to encourage customers to shop with reusable bags. Mr Guyton noted that the goal was to “reduce or eliminate single-use paper and plastic bags”. I can’t argue with that.

Over at Foster’s Food Fair, Woody Foster explained that his supermarkets are “in the process of adding paper to our offering but have not made the decision yet to fully get rid of plastic”.

So on the whole, while the green award is going to Hurley’s, I really believe that Mr Guyton is correct and the answer lies in not using either plastic or paper but campaigning for a switch to reusable bags only.

I realise that may be a hard sell for some people but the stakes are too high not to make the effort. Our oceans may be vast but the life they support is vulnerable, something that islands like ours, that are so dependent on a thriving marine environment, should be very sensitive to.

Every day should be World Ocean Day.

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Category: Ask Auntie, Environmental Questions

Comments (10)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It is just marketing.
    Profit is still the main goal.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    The other one I laugh about is Royal Palms. They made the big switch to paper straws instead of plastic straws. Order a drink and they serve it to you in a PLASTIC cup with a paper straw. SMH.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Sounds good – cut down all the trees – problem solved !

  4. Anonymous says:

    This is a step in the right direction, but this place is chronic for the use of Styrofoam and plastics, particularly with takeout food.

    Unfortunately, most people who live here, are not that bothered.

    Even some of the biodegradeable containers need to be composted at specialist facilities.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, someone forgot to read the fine print when they were buying “compostable” plastic food containers.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t keep that take-out food in those ‘compostable containers’ for more than a few hours at most or you will have a big mess on your hands! I got food from the buffet in WB and took it to East End. By the time I arrived it was already ‘degrading’ and leaking all over my seats!

  5. Amused says:

    30 – 40 years ago all of the shops/supermarkets were using paper bags. Public opinion, fed by the media, claimed this was wrong as it entailed the destruction of forests which leads to global warming besides depriving animals and birds of their habitat.
    Plastic was the way to go.
    Now things have gone full circle and we are going back to using paper although the original arguments against it have not changed.

    Six of one, and half-a-dozen of the other.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    What total switch? I shopped at Hurleys yesterday and paper bags (which were twice the cost of plastic bags) had run out so they were back to using plastic.

    10
  7. Buckle Up says:

    What are their customers eating their deli food with?

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