by Morinville News Staff
Sobeys is the first national grocery chain to announce it is eliminating plastic bags.
Sobeys announced Wednesday that it would remove plastic grocery bags from all its grocery stores by the end of January 2020. The move is estimated to take 225 million plastic grocery bags out of circulation each year.
The company says it is planning to phase out plastic grocery bags and introducing paper bags in their Safeway, FreshCo, Foodland and other stores.
“So many of our customers and our employees have told us loud and clear — they want us to use less plastic – and we agree with them,” said Michael Medline, President and CEO, Empire. “This is a first step, and we plan to make meaningful progress every year to take plastic out of our stores and our products. We decided to act now instead of taking years to study and only make long-term commitments. We’re taking action now, making a tangible difference today and into the future. This is a significant first step, but it’s only a first step. We need to go further, and we will.”
Beyond phasing out plastic bags, the company says it will put unique programs in place to further reduce plastics in other areas of the store.
Part of that plan includes encouraging customers to choose reusable bags. Starting in August, Sobeys will roll-out reusable mesh produce bags made from recycled water bottles for the produce department.
“It’s time for change, and we will not stop innovating and bringing to market new ways to remove avoidable plastic from retail,” said Vittoria Varalli, Vice President, Sustainability. “We are working with our industry partners and key stakeholders on eradicating plastics from the system. There are many factors to balance like food waste and food safety when assessing the need for packaging in the grocery retail supply chain. It will take a collective effort to drive real, meaningful change for the future.”