Muscat: Homegrown Omani e-commerce start-up Rafeeq.om, has saved more than 100,000 plastic bags since the launch of its operations in Muscat in March 2020.
Rafeeq’s product deliveries are made directly to the shopper’s home, in sanitised reusable crates and insulated boxes, saving dozens of plastics bags with each order.
Launched just as the country was implementing social-distancing norms, Rafeeq has proved to be a saviour for close shoppers in Muscat, who prefer to shop from the comfort and safety of their own home.
With over 30 categories, spanning fresh fruits and vegetables to stationery and mobile phones, Rafeeq has successfully managed to bring a department store into the homes of the consumers.
Payam Ashori, the founder of Rafeeq.om, said, “We aimed to be eco-friendly from the outset. We see so many plastic bags being used in department stores and grocery stores. Sometimes, the baggers pack just one item per bag. Most of the bags end up in the trash, and in our oceans. At Rafeeq, we limit the use of plastic to only fresh fruits and vegetables. Everything else is delivered to the customers in reusable, sanitised crates.”
Post-purchase feedback has also indicated that customers prefer this environment-friendly approach to deliveries. “During any trip to a local hypermarket, I am appalled at the number of plastic bags used for a single cart. I try to carry my own bags, but most shoppers do not. With Rafeeq, I found that my order was delivered plastic-free, and hence guilt-free,” said Hiba Al Alawi, a regular customer.
Oman will ban single-use plastic bags starting 2021 as part of efforts to reduce pollution and protect the environment. Beach clean-up initiatives in Oman end up clearing an average of 5 million plastic bags every three months, from the shores of Oman.
Says Payam, “100,000 may seem like a small number, when we compare it to the millions of bags being discarded every day. But we think of the number of animal lives that have been saved. We think of the fact that 100,000 fewer bags are out there for the beach cleaners to pick up. That’s when we realize that our efforts have make a positive impact on the beautiful environment of Oman, in just a few months of launch.”