Waste from plastic bags is a global environmental problem that particularly affects island nations such as Indonesia. Used plastic bags often end up polluting the ocean, endangering sea life and washing up as garbage on the coast line.
Reducing the use of these bags aligns with Delhaize Group’s-wide goal of becoming a Zero Waste organization by 2020. So in 2013, Super Indo, our banner in Indonesia, launched an ambitious, year-long campaign to encourage our customers to shop with reusable bags.
A big kick-off
Our program, “Gunakan Reusable Bag, Dapatkan Cashback” or “Use a Reusable Bag, Get Cash Back,” offered shoppers cash back on their purchases when they used a reusable bag or cardboard box. Customers received 100, 200 or 300 Indonesian rupiahs (IDR) for purchases of IDR 50 000 to IDR 100 000, IDR 200 000 and IDR 300 000, respectively.
Customers who did not want to apply their cash-back award to their bills could instead choose to donate the amount to the Indonesian Solid Waste Association (InSWA). InSWA supports the Wise Waste Management Campaign, which educates the public about the importance of reducing waste. To create excitement for the program, we organized “I Choose to Reuse,” an event on Jakarta’s weekly Car-Free Day. On a Car-Free Day in February, we invited the public to exchange used plastic bags and other containers for a free, reusable bag. We also asked participants to sign a pledge promising to use fewer plastic bags.
An equally big response
More than 2 000 people signed the pledge that day – a world record for the largest number of people ever to take such a pledge, according to the Museum of Indonesian Records. As part of the festivities, we created a 4-meter tall “waste monster” from the plastic bags and polystyrene we collected, to remind the public that trash is an environmental menace. InSWA gave us an award recognizing Super Indo as the most active supermarket for customer education in terms of reducing plastic bag use.
The cash-back campaign continued throughout the year in all 117 Super Indo stores.
Thanks to the program, thousands of customers have begun using reusable shopping bags. Their cash-back donations to InSWA totaled more than 37 million IDR.
We plan to extend the cash-back program to continue inspiring customers to change their habits and adopt reusable bags.
This article was published as a case study in Delhaize Group’s 2013 Sustainability Progress Report. Click here to access the full report.