Sobeys Inc. grocery stores announced that shoppers would soon need to bring their own totes or lug their purchases home in paper bags as the chain moves to phase out plastic bags by February 2020.
Canadians go through hundreds of millions of single-use plastic bags at grocery stores each year, and the chains are facing pressure from increasingly eco-conscious consumers to do more to eliminate their plastic-centric packaging.
The change will eliminate 225 million bags used annually at Sobeys 255 stores.
Food companies have been on a mission to reduce plastic from their operations recently as consumers push for more sustainable practices. Some are taking initiatives to change ahead of the federal government’s announced ban on single-use plastics by 2021, which would force them to find non-plastic alternatives.
Grocery stores are slowly starting to get on board with the push to eliminate single-use plastics.
Metro Inc. announced earlier this year it would start allowing consumers to use reusable containers to store fresh products, such as those from the deli and pastry counters, at its Quebec stores.
In May, the company committed to cut its use of single-use plastic bags in half by the end of its 2023 financial year. It also said it wants to reduce the amount of produce bags used by 10 per cent by the end of its 2020 financial year.
Loblaw Companies Ltd., meanwhile, started charging five cents per plastic bag about a decade ago and reduced the number of plastic bags used in its stores by nearly 12 billion.
Meanwhile, customers seeking greener grocery pastures have given rise to niche no-waste markets across Canada. -CINEWS