Plastic is a synthetic, solid, hydrocarbon-based polymer. Plastic is a menace when it comes to environmental pollution; it is non-biodegradable. It is a lengthy subject so I will shake off the temptation to delve deeper. Did you know that plastic bags will be banned soon in Zimbabwe? Well, it is true. This means outlets, particularly retail ones must start exploring alternatives. The best long-haul alternatives must be eco-friendly ones. This feeds into the opening of some business doors. There are business ideas that can leverage this impending plastic bag ban. In this article let us explore some of those business ideas but first:
The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) Plastics Bags Ban
To put things into perspective let me share with you details on the ban. EMA issued a statement, a letter in fact, to the Retailers Association of Zimbabwe on November 12th 2021. Part of it read as follows:
“Globally, plastic waste has become a menace, hence the need to reduce the use of plastics. EMA is, therefore, taking steps towards the phase-out of plastic carrier bags. We are encouraging your affiliate members to consider alternative non-plastic carrier bags which are environmentally friendly. Plastic bags are set to be phased out by the end of December 2022. We appreciate the efforts by some of your members who have already started promoting the use of alternative bags. A green economy is a way to go and your cooperation in this regard is greatly appreciated”.
Paper Bags Manufacturing, Sourcing, And Supply
Interestingly, normally most people in Zimbabwe refer to plastic bags as just paper bags. The thing is, there are actually what are called paper bags because they are made out of paper. These will be a good alternative to plastic bags. Paper bags are the complete opposite of plastic bags – they are biodegradable. They are lightweight, cheaper to make, reusable, and can be recycled too. There is no doubt that paper bags will become the immediate go-to when the ban goes live. You can make some money getting into the manufacture, sourcing, and supplying of paper bags.
Canvas Bags Manufacturing, Sourcing, And Supply
The way I see it, this will also become one of the most common alternatives. They are typically made out of cotton or hemp, amongst others. Canvas bags are robust, lightweight, and low-cost as well. They are also washable and reusable thus making them unparalleled in convenience. They are even thicker and more resilient than plastic carrier bags. You can choose to get into their manufacturing or you can settle for sourcing and supply.
Crotchet Bags Manufacturing, Sourcing, And Supply
There are many Zimbabweans out there who are good at crotchet work. Regarding plastic carrier bag alternatives, crotchet bags will be another cool business idea. You can use materials such as wool or yarn. Growing up I used to see crotchet bags being used for carrying groceries. Over the years they went out of style because of the adoption of plastic carrier bags. This ban will make it possible for them to become popular again. They are stylish, lightweight, washable, strong and reusable.
Water Hyacinth Bags Manufacturing, Sourcing, And Supply
Many of you know what water hyacinth is but maybe just not the name. Water hyacinth is an aquatic flowering plant of the genus Eichhornia. The plant is fibrous making it usable in weaving out many things. Essentially the plant is harvested, dried and woven to produce a wide variety of things. I am sure you now get the picture of what I am referring to. Growing I used to hate being sent to go get something at the shops using a water hyacinth bag. I always felt embarrassed because it was too unique; maybe I was just being petty. Anyways, water hyacinths are a great plastic carrier bag alternative. Though relatively the most expensive alternative, they are long-lasting.
Since plastic bags are going to be phased out, what will happen to the pre-existing ones? That is where plastic recycling comes in. You can explore the business idea of recycling them into other products.
You will remember that around 2017 plastic foam containers were banned. That is why you no longer see such packaging at common joints such as fast food restaurants. However, it seems enforcement of that ban has not quite taken root. There are still countless places where food still gets packaged using plastic foam containers. The same can also happen for this impending plastic carrier bags ban. An outright ban might take time to be rooted given the widespread use of plastic. Anyways, if people can start the aforementioned business ideas the transition could be faster.