*Creative Commons photo by EdouardHue
*Creative Commons photo by EdouardHue

A green campaign to charge shoppers for using plastic bags has been backed by Environment Minister Sylvan Richards.

Mr Richards told the Bermuda Sun he supported the initiative that has been launched by Greenrock to discourage the use of disposable plastic and paper bags.

The charity has suggested a 25c fee per bag at the point of sale to deter shoppers from using what they see as an environmental hazard.

Mr Richards said that the disincentive of an additional cost would result in islanders making better choices. He added: “I think it’s a good idea and my thoughts have evolved on this topic. As a country we need to be more environmentally conscious.

“I thought it was a good idea when the supermarkets brought in the green canvas bag and this is the logical next step in that direction.

“If the public are given a disincentive to use plastic by additional costs they would select another option.

“This is a Greenrock initiative and they are lobbying for it.

“But I can say that I would support it.”

Mr Richards said that Government would look at ‘all the options’ in a bid to reduce pollution in Bermuda.

He added: “The issue is not just plastic, however — we are a very wasteful society.

Be wise

“As a community we need to give more thought to how we treat our environment.

“We have to protect it and it is wise to do anything that we can do to enhance that.”

Greenrock President, Judith Landsberg, welcomed the Minister’s comments on the petition, which has attracted more than 250 signatures and support from various groups.

She said: “We have been very interested in public reaction which on the whole is supportive of the idea of finding ways to reduce bag use, even if they don’t always agree with a charge.


“Lightweight plastic or paper grocery bags are convenient but they pollute our land and our oceans, use valuable resources to create them and are a human health hazard.

“Millions of dollars are spent each year manufacturing, importing and then incinerating single-use bags. This is an extreme price to pay — both environmentally and economically — for about 15 minutes of convenience.

“We understand that the Bermuda Government is considering the idea seriously and that the Minister for the Environment and Planning is personally supportive. Whatever the outcome we welcome the debate and that the issue is being actively discussed.”