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Sobey’s has announced that it will no longer carry plastic bags in their stores as of Jan. 31. It will be the first national grocer to do so.

“There was a mourning period of people from July when we made the announcement,” said Violet MacLeod, a spokesperson for Sobeys Inc.

“We did hear a lot of nostalgia, a lot of, ‘What will I put in my boots?’ … but we’ve had six months go by and people are accepting the change.”

Sobey’s first made the announcement back in July of 2019 from all 255 locations. There are officially the first nation-wide grocery store to take such action. This simple action will eliminate the production of 225 million plastic bags a year, according to CBC.

“It’s important for us to step up and listen to what Canadians have been asking for and work to reduce that avoidable plastic and this plastic bag elimination is just a first step on that journey,” said MacLeod.

Currently Canadians go through approximately 15 billion plastic bags annually according to the government. Trudeau announced announced a nationwide ban on single use plastics last year that is to be implemented by 2021. This would include bags, straws, and cutlery among other things.

The first province to ban the use of plastic bags was Prince Edwards Island followed by Newfoundland and Nova Scotia with plans to have full implementation by the end of the year. Vancouver has also brought in the ban to take effect in 2021 as well as Prince Albert, Saskatchewan approved the ban this week which will begin Aug. 1.

In lieu of the plastic bag ban, paper bags will be the most sustainable option according to MacLeod. Consumers in Quebec are encouraged to bring reusable containers for their shopping needs.

Some stores, such as Walmart have been charing customer five cents to reduce customers use of them as far back as 2016. The company said that the surcharge resulted in 50 per cent less people using plastic bags since. They project that number will be eradicated completely by 2025.

Loblaws released a statement saying it’s en route to reducing the plastic packaging of its products as well, in addition to the selling of plastic bags. Some of their individual locations have made the decision to remove plastic bags altogether.


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