Plastic ban will cut our profits, says vendors

The vendors of Samoa’s famous pork-buns are worried at the impact that the Government’s plastic ban policy will have on their profits.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer recently on the implications of the ban on single use plastic bags, five pork-bun vendors said they will have to fork out more for alternative renewable bags now that single-use plastic bags are banned.

Prior to the ban the vendors paid $18 for a plastic bag roll and used between one to two rolls. But after the ban the cost for an alternative plastic roll is $35 for a small box and $45 for the large boxes. In order to use two boxes of each size a day, their cost run close to $160, which is unsustainable for them over the long-term. 

A vendor, Ioane Seuati, said the rise in the cost in order for them to make the switch is high and “shocking” for them, as it will affect their livelihood. 

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“It’s more like volunteering to give free food to people and earn nothing at all because we all have families and for us, this is our breadwinner. To sell the pork-buns,” he added.

Another vendor, Amosa Samuelu, said the alternative renewable plastic bags will be costly and will affect his family’s livelihood.  

Faoa Faoa, who is a vendor but gets his plastic bags courtesy of his sister, said the switch will cost vendors a lot more.

“The competition with the other vendors is quite hard because it’s not just 2 or 3 pork-bun vendors but more and everybody buys from anywhere so if I spend this much on the plastic bags and my customers are not much, then I’d have a bigger problem,” he added. 

Toni Viliamu and Sifiti Stowers, who both sell pork-buns, questioned the rationale behind the plastic ban when food companies such as Twisties continue to distribute their products in plastic packaging. 

“How about those plastics they use for twisties and those other junk food and products in the shop? If they ban the usage of the plastics bags then there should be no more plastic everywhere,” they said.

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