Looking forward to enjoying your holidays in Kenya? Make sure that you are fully aware of the ban on plastic bags that was put into place on Monday 28 August 2017. Although this ban was initially announced in February, it was suspended for six months in order to give retailers, locals and visitors time to adjust. As of the end of August, the ban is now fully in place.
If you are an avid recycler at home, this news may not give you anything to worry about on your holiday. To help you get a better idea of what the ban is all about, we have put together a mini guide on how to avoid plastic on your holidays in Kenya.
Avoiding Plastic on Your Holidays in Kenya
Kenya is not the first country to say no to plastic. Nor is it one of the only countries battling with plastic pollution. While some countries have outright banned plastic bags, others have imposed a tax on these bags in a move to reduce the volume of plastic waste. Cities and countries that have banned or limited the plastic bag include South Africa, Botswana, Malawi, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Northern Territory, South Australia and Tasmania in Australia, Ireland, Denmark, California and others.
As a responsible traveller, what can you do to help the ban on plastic in Kenya? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Bring or purchase a reusable shopping bag that will see you through your holiday. Make sure that the bag is made out of strong material that will not break or tear. This will go a long way in avoiding the need for plastic bags.
- Choose glass bottles over plastic bottles. Even if plastic cold drink and water bottles are not banned, they still have an effect on the environment. Choose glass bottles wherever possible. You can also ask around to find out where you can recycle your bottles after use.
- Avoid other single use plastics as much as possible. These include plastic knives and forks from takeaway restaurants and food counters, plastic drinking straws, plastic wrapped fruit and vegetables and any other plastic that can only be used once.
It is also worth noting that Kenyan officials can now impose harsh fines and even custodial sentences for the use of plastic shopping bags. These include fines of up to US$38,000 and prison sentences of up to four years. Plastic bin liners and plastic-wrapped goods are not included in this law but it is still a good idea to find alternatives that have a reduced carbon footprint.
We welcome the plastic bag ban as a measure that will help to reduce the burden of waste in Africa, and we hope that you will join us as we strive towards plastic-free holidays in Kenya and every other part of the world.