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Loblaw announces landmark move to significantly reduce plastic shopping bag use

Posted by Environment Smart on 11/28 at 02:30 PM  Permalink
Tags: NewsRecycling

Move will help Canadians divert 1 billion plastic shopping bags from landfills in 2009

BRAMPTON, ON, Nov. 27 CNW - As a cornerstone to our 20th anniversary of PC(R) GREEN products and our ongoing commitment to respect the environment, Loblaw Companies Limited is pleased to announce that effective Earth Day 2009 (April 22, 2009) all corporate and participating franchise stores nationally will no longer provide complimentary plastic shopping bags at check-out. Loblaw will continue to encourage customers to use alternatives to plastic bags, enhance its offer of affordable reusable bag options and charge $0.05 per plastic shopping bag, when they are requested by customers.

"As Canada's largest grocery retailer, we have a history of taking an active role to help reduce waste in our communities," says Galen G. Weston, Executive Chairman, Loblaw Companies Limited. "We believe this important move will inspire and help Canadians to more fully embrace reusable bag practices and it represents the next natural step forward as we continue to acknowledge and respond to Canadians' desire to support environmental initiatives."

As the largest national food retail store in Canada, Loblaw projects this significant move will result in a 55 per cent decrease in the number of plastic shopping bags it distributes and help to eliminate one billion plastic shopping bags from landfills in 2009. Currently, Canadians take home approximately 55 million plastic bags each week.

Our first hand experience, from operating our five bagless store pilots and data from our stores that already charge for plastic shopping bags, reveals that providing a variety of affordable reusable bag options, combined with charging a nominal fee for plastic shopping bags, are primary drivers in changing consumer behaviour. Our data indicates that Loblaw stores that have been charging a nominal fee for plastic bags distribute almost 55 per cent fewer bags per $1000 sales than those stores that provide plastic shopping bags for free.

"We are pleased to see Loblaw take a leadership role in reducing the use of plastic bags, which is one component of a comprehensive sustainability plan. Loblaw has enormous ability to influence change; hopefully this will encourage shoppers to think about the impact of their actions, and encourage other companies to follow," said Gerald Butts, President and CEO, World Wildlife Fund, Canada.

In the City of Toronto, this move is pending a bylaw decision by City Council expected December 1, 2008. The bylaw recommends the same 5 cent charge per plastic retail shopping bag when requested by customers. Pending approval, Loblaw is also pleased to announce that the City of Toronto will become the pilot for this new program starting January 12, 2009.

"I want to thank and commend Loblaw for demonstrating true leadership in corporate and environmental best practices through the advanced roll out of this program," says Toronto Mayor David Miller. "I look forward to a successful launch of this important step in waste diversion efforts on a national scale."

The majority of the proceeds from the sale of plastic shopping bags will be used to cover the cost of the Loblaw plastic bag reduction program. Partial proceeds from Loblaw corporate stores will be donated to environmental charities/groups, which will be announced next year.

Loblaw Key Strategies to Help Canadians Embrace and Adopt Reusable Bag Practices

From the historic opening of five bagless stores over the past 18 months to the overwhelming success of the PC GREEN Reusable Shopping Bag with 14 million bags sold since its July 2007 launch, Loblaw remains committed to simple and affordable solutions that will encourage Canadians to adopt reusable shopping bags.

As an acknowledged leader in environmental initiatives (Loblaw was the No. 1 retailer and No. 5 overall in the 2008 Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada by Corporate Knights Magazine), Loblaw is pleased to report that it expects to have helped Canadians reduce plastic shopping bag use by 300 million units in 2008.

Building on the iconic PC GREEN Reusable Shopping Bag, Loblaw has recently launched five affordable new green ways to encourage Canadians to shop with reusable bag options.

  • Large version of the PC GREEN Reusable Shopping Bag. It's double the size of our original PC GREEN CANADA'S GREENEST SHOPPING BAG(TM), Canada's only closed loop bag made of 100% post consumer recycled plastic bottles.
  • PC GREEN SHOPPING BAG TO GO(TM). It folds up into a convenient purse- sized pouch.
  • PC GREEN Shopping Trolley. Strong, chic and portable, it has a base that folds flat for easy storage.
  • PC GREEN Stow Away Shopping Bag on Wheels. It collapses into an easy to store pouch.
  • PC GREEN Folding Basket. Great for those quick trips to the market, the Basket folds up easily thanks to its collapsible aluminum frame.

Additionally, customers can opt to use the GREEN Box(TM) which has been designed to fit in store shopping carts and can hold up to the equivalent of 3 to 5 grocery bags. Our customers respond favourably to the ease in transferring the bin from cart to car to home and back, making it a highly popular option. Loblaw will continue to offer the GREEN Box, which can be returned for a full refund.

In those municipalities that do not currently provide recycling services for plastic shopping bags, Loblaw will continue to offer recycling services at our stores.

About Loblaw Companies Limited Loblaw Companies Limited, a subsidiary of George Weston Limited, is Canada's largest food distributor and a leading provider of drugstore, general merchandise and financial products and services. Loblaw is one of the largest private sector employers in Canada. With more than 1,000 corporate and franchised stores from coast to coast, Loblaw and its franchisees employ over 140,000 full-time and part-time employees. Through its portfolio of store formats, Loblaw is committed to providing Canadians with a wide, growing and successful range of products and services to meet the everyday household demands of Canadian consumers. Loblaw is known for the quality, innovation and value of its food offering. It offers Canada's strongest control (private) label program, including the unique President's Choice(R), no name(R) and Joe Fresh Style(R) brands. In addition, the Company makes available to consumers President's Choice financial services and offers the PC points loyalty program.

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