Gravenhurst Sobeys Joins Locations Across Canada By Eliminating Plastic Grocery Bags

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Gravenhurst Sobeys staff gather around a cake to celebrate the removal of plastic grocery bags from their store. Photo courtesy of Jackie Jerome

The Gravenhurst Sobeys is joining locations across the country by removing single-use plastic grocery bags from their stores today.

Sobeys announced last July that it would remove plastic grocery bags from all Sobeys grocery stores by the end of January 2020, aiming to reduce environmental damage and encourage a shift toward reusable bags. An exact date hasn’t been chosen, but the change will soon roll out to the company’s other banners, including FreshCo, Foodland and IGA. The remaining plastic bags at Sobeys stores are being shipped back to the company they were purchased, so as of today, all Sobeys plastic single-use grocery bags have been removed from the store, said Jackie Jerome, a manager at the Gravenhurst Sobeys.

“It’s exciting for Sobeys,” Jerome said. “Sobeys is the first national grocery retailer in Canada to eliminate the single-use plastic grocery bags from all of our stores, 255 Sobey stores. We’re taking 225 million plastic bags out of circulation each year and we’re doing this because it is the right thing to do for our planet, the environment and the future.”

Sobeys will continue to offer their reusable bags for 99 cents along with new reusable t-shirt bags, which cost 25 cents each and can be washed up to 14 times. They’ve also added the option of selecting paper bags for 10 cents a piece and a portion of the proceeds will go toward planting trees in Canada through One Tree Planted, an environmental nonprofit that works to plant trees all over the world.

“[The paper bags] are a hundred per cent recyclable and compostable,” Jerome said. “We are working with mills that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and that means that the paper for the paper bags in our stores comes from sustainably managed forests.”

Sobeys will still offer small plastic bags for produce, meat and seafood, and bulk products to prevent cross contamination. The stores have been selling reusable mesh produce bags as an alternative since last August, but for other items, Jerome said the company is working on a solution to eliminate the remaining plastic bags as well.

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