In an effort to fight against environmental pollution and help reduce environmental impact, Vodacom today became South Africa’s first telecommunications company to ban the issuing of plastic bags to customers at its stores across the country.
With effect from 1st April 2019, Vodacom replaced plastic bags with brown paper bags, affirming Vodacom’s commitment to operating its business in a sustainable manner. This approach priorities the reduction, reuse and recycling of materials and resources where disposal to landfill is the last option.
“We are aware of the popularity of plastics mainly because plastic is affordable and lasts longer. However, it is this very characteristic that make plastics persistent pollutants in the environment. While plastics are useful in our daily activities and seem impossible to live without, plastics have a significant impact on environmental pollution, wildlife deaths, human health hazards and other detrimental impacts such as flooding,” Takalani Netshitenzhe, Vodacom Group Corporate Affairs Chief Officer.
“We have chosen a paper bag because it is less harmful to the environment as compared to plastic. We’ve also removed single use plastics at our Midrand offices, which include plastic straws and plastic stirrers, amongst others, in our buildings.”
Additional to Vodacom’s phasing out plastic bags, Netshitenzhe said that Vodacom is also looking at innovative ways to help reduce electronic waste in our operations. Last year, Vodacom reused more than 180 tons of network equipment and rejuvenated more than 74 tons of batteries.
At its head office, Vodacom has reduced 38 tons of waste sent to landfill through a baling operation and has also contracted a company that converts food waste from canteens into compost.
In 2018, 34 tons of waste from canteens was turned into compost used to fertilize the gardens at the Vodacom Midrand campus.
“The protection of the planet remains key to the sustainable growth of our business. Vodacom customers can expect to see more innovation from us in the near future to help realise our vision of connecting for a better future.”