Plastic Bag Elimination by March 31Actions
Prairie Co-op will begin phasing out single-use plastic checkout bags this spring. Plastic bags will not be available after March 31, 2023, at any of our locations.
Sustainability is key to Prairie Co-op's goals for moving our business forward. Implementing sustainable practices will benefit the communities we serve.
The Canadian Federal Government has mandated that plastic checkout bags may no longer be imported or manufactured in Canada for sale after December 20, 2022, and will no longer be available to be sold after December 20, 2023. We are simply taking steps ahead of these dates to make the necessary changes.
With the plastic bag program coming to an end, we want to encourage and support our members and customers to remember your reusable bags. You can find a varied selection of bags and containers available at all our food store locations.
Q: Why not switch to paper bags as an eco-friendly alternative?
A: Paper bags are recyclable, but the paper is very resource-heavy to produce. Manufacturing a paper bag takes about four times as much energy as it takes to produce a plastic bag, plus uses harmful chemicals in its production. Also, because paper fibers become shorter and weaker each time the recycling process takes place, there is a limit to how many times paper can be recycled.
Studies have shown that for a paper bag to neutralize its environmental impact compared to plastic, it would have to be used anywhere from three to 43 times. Since paper bags are the least durable of all the bagging options, it is unlikely that a person would get enough use out of any one bag to even out the environmental impact.
Q: I use the grocery bags I get at your stores to dispose of my pet’s waste, and now I’ll have to buy more plastic bags, so what is the point?
A: Taking a single-use plastic bag and turning it into a double-use plastic bag is still not an ideal option, because the bag still ends up in the landfill and it takes hundreds of years to decompose.
There are some creative solutions, such as repurposing frozen fruit or vegetable bags, cereal bags, or bread bags. Corn-based compostable bags are also an option.
Q: What about produce bags at the Food Stores, or bulk nail bags at the Home Centres? Will they be eliminated in the spring as well?
A: At this time, these bags are NOT included in the phase-out, but this may change in the future. We will keep everyone apprised of any changes we will make at our stores.
Q: I see other single-use plastics and disposables at your food stores. What will you be doing next?
A: Federated Co-operatives Ltd. has signed on to the Canadian Plastics Pact (CPP) on behalf of the Co-operative Retailing System, which includes Prairie Co-op. By signing the Pact, the CRS is committing to four targets by 2025:
• Define problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging and create a strategy to eliminate them
• 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable, or compostable
• 50% of packaging is recycled or composted
• 30% recycled content across all packaging
While these targets may seem ambitious, we are not starting from scratch. In 2019, a cross-commodity working group was formed to source alternative packaging options for the CRS.