Plastic bag charge on the way

Raissa Tetanish
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AMHERST - Earth Day celebrations will include the commencement of charging for plastic shopping bags at one local grocery store.

The Atlantic Superstore's Amherst Market will start charging consumers on April 22, which is the date of the national campaign set out by parent company Loblaws.

The move was made at the beginning of the year to protect the environment.

"Shopping with reusable bags, which can make a positive difference in waste reduction, requires a small change in behaviour for customers and our cashier colleagues - one that we hope they will be proud to make," said Julija Hunter, senior director for Corporate Affairs with Loblaw Companies Limited.

The change was kicked off in late January in Toronto, and is a cornerstone to the company's 20th anniversary of PC G.R.E.E.N. Products and Loblaw's ongoing commitment to respect the environment.

When purchasing groceries, consumers will have a couple of choices to choose from - pay $0.05 for plastic bags, purchase reusable bags at the store, or bring their own.

Hunter says Loblaw's data indicats that stores have have been charging a nominal fee for plastic shopping bags distribute more than 55 per cent fewer bags per $1,000 in sales than those providing the bags for free.

"In 2008, Loblaw's efforts in reducing plastic bags resulted in over 300 million plastic shopping bags diverted from the landfill," she said, adding the goal is to divert one billion from the landfills nationally by the end of the year.

Organizations: Loblaw Companies, Amherst Market, Corporate Affairs

Geographic location: Toronto

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Recent comments

  • Mom
    January 18, 2010 - 11:23

    Personally, I don't think 5 cents per bag is high enough.
    The stores should charge 20 cents for each bag. (And don't think Sobeys is immune to this. I predict they'll start charging for bags before too long.)

    And if you pay for your bags maybe you'll think twice about putting 4L bags of milk in a store bag. Or potatoes.
    That's ridiculous and wasteful.

  • uncle bobby
    January 18, 2010 - 11:21

    We as a family have purchased some cloth bags from Super Store. If you have their debit or credit card, they will pay you to use them. If you use their competitors cloth bags, Super Store will pay you. Even the plastic bags can be used many times. JW says boycott Sobeys & Super Store. That doesn't leave much choice in Amherst. If everyone boycotted one store for a month, then alternating to the other one, it would throw their ordering in a shambles. The most to get hurt would be the workers, who would be sent home. JW, you are blowing against the wind. Just suck it up and try to get some plastic bags from friends or neighbours. Like, bags from non grocery stores, Canadian Tire, Mansours, Dayles, etc. Get it off your chest like all good Maritimers and spout off at your favourite coffee shop. That cup of coffee for over a dollar would pay 20 or more bags. JW, go cry in your beer at $4.00 a pint at your favourite watering hole. Stay home just once and you can pay for enough bags to suit your shopping needs. Hey, 4 Bucks will buy you 4 Cloth bags. Yu can use them at the beach or to put Christmas presents in for your your coffee shop buddies. They deserve something for putting up with your palaver over any little thing that comes along. There, I feel better after getting all that crap off my chest.

  • Lisa
    January 18, 2010 - 11:21

    The only thing that irritates me about it all is the strain on people with small children. Grocery shopping takes on a new level of frustration now with keeping my 5 year old near-by and my 18 month old in the cart while I watch the screen as things are swipped AND BAG MY OWN GROCERIES to load back into the cart. Then to add a bit of annoyance to the frustration I will be doing all of this with line-ups of other people waiting and watching. Gee thanks, Superstore.

    I dont mind the whole paying for plastic. Really, 5 cents is barely anything and its not like an average grocery order is THAT many bags really but I would wish that they had thought it all out more. Why make an already unpleasent task just THAT much worse?

  • reusable bag user
    January 18, 2010 - 11:19

    I attended college in Ontario for two years a few years ago where the stores charged for bags. In a town of 9,500, residents in Amherst shouldn't be that up in arms about this change.

    I lived in an area of 45,000 people - with a college that had students year-round. The grocery stores hadn't implemented reusable cloth bags at that time, so we either purchased plastic bags, took our book bags with us or grabbed empty boxes. It would be a great idea for the Superstore, or any other grocery store for that matter, to offer boxes to pack groceries in. That's how my roommate and I got most of our groceries home, by means of the bus I might add.

    The bags we purchased in Ontario were the same price we'll be charged here, and yes, we had to bag our own groceries. As do customers at IKEA, which I noticed this fall. I certainly didn't complain.

  • momof2
    January 18, 2010 - 11:18

    I lived in Alberta years ago and this was common practise at the superstore then and back in 2005 it was 8 cents per bag in Alberta. Yes it covers some of their costs to get the bags, however it does also promote the cloth bags and a healthier environment.

    This is not the first store to do this, nor will it be the last. I think it is a step in the right direction. People from Amherst suck it up and get over your fear of change. You are living in the past and holding yourself back from bigger and better things by boycotting a store that is trying to help the environment. Much more then I can say for all of the people in town that have zero concern for everybody else in this town by standing in the entrances to every bloody store in town puffing away on a cancer stick forcing the rest of us to breath in that garbage. Way to go superstore you are helping our environment while others are puffing away our future !

  • Chaz
    January 18, 2010 - 11:14

    This isn't about being a greener organization. THIS IS A MONEY GRAB, by Loblaws. $.05 a bag c'mon...

    Last time I shopped there they wouldn't even bag your groceries for you...

    People spend a lot of money on food every week, the prices keep going up as the service keeps going down..

    I truley hope Sobey's doesn't follow suit.

    This is an excellent oppertunity for them to gain of market share back from Superstore....

  • Chaz
    January 18, 2010 - 11:13

    Mercyy: Your right costco doesn't supply bags. That actually the point exactly. They do not supply bags. unlike Superstore who will supply bags at a cost. i would be totally OK with it, if superstore didn't have plastic bags at all, but to go from providing them at not cost, to charging way more then they would pay for a bag, thats waht I have a problem with.

    Why doesn't superstore donate all proceeds of bag $$ to charity... because is't a money grab......

  • Melissa
    January 18, 2010 - 11:12

    I think it is absolutely outrageous that people are complaining about having to bring their own bags? Have any of you watched the news lately? there is this thing called the ozone layer that we have completely almost ruined, i know those miserable old superstore people trying to encourage us to help save the environment, HOW COULD THEY.. seriously people, grow up.. get with the program... if this was such a big scam they would just charge the .05 and not offer the reusable bags at all.. and about bagging your own groceries, is that really so difficult? *sigh*..

  • SuperStore Shopper
    January 18, 2010 - 11:11

    I have no idea why people are comlpaining. Superstore had been advising people of this chage since January. There are many other ways (as others have outlined) as to how to aviod paying the fee for plactic bags. Get real and get over this people, there are much more important things to spend our time on! As for packing your own groceries, I have NEVER had to pack my own at Superstore and have never witnesses anyone else doing it either, unless hockey teams, etc. Something as minor as paying for plastic bags will not change my mind as to where is the best place to buy groceries.

  • peter
    January 18, 2010 - 11:09

    I heard in a news item, a week or two ago, that there is a COOP store, maybe several, that will pay you 5 cents for every cloth bag that you bring and use for your groceries. Seems a bit fairer, as they would be saving on the plastic bags anyway and would just be passing that saving onto their customers that bring their own bags.

  • Troy
    January 18, 2010 - 11:05


  • jen
    January 18, 2010 - 11:02

    i had to bag my own groceries tonight when i was at the supperstore but went to sobeys as well and they bagged my groceries there...and i brought my own bags to both places...

  • Barbara
    January 18, 2010 - 11:01

    The Superstore chain has been charging per bag in British Columbia for over ten years (since I last lived there). It's nothing new. I don't think they even supply the bags now.

    Stores have been selling reusable bags for years, and at less than $2 per bag, it's not a huge investment. The bags would more than pay for themselves in a few trips. Besides, shouldn't everyone be doing what they can to cut down on pollution? Or are the complainers the same that hit Tim Hortons ten times a day without the travel mug to cut down on garbage, and save a few cents?

    Mom Jeans... some of use walk to and from the store, so a bag for a bag of potatoes, or a few other things is not ridiculous where they're hard to hold on to. Then again, I use cloth bags for groceries, so it all goes into the ones I use over and over again.

  • Steve
    January 18, 2010 - 11:00

    This is not right on several levels. Firstly I suspect Superstore will still pay to have the bags printed with their logo on them. I have also noticed that workers no longer bag your purchases, until they are done processing the entire order thus inferring that you should do the bagging yourself, to speed up the slower operation.
    This is a reduction in service. I for one do not like being forced to do something for my own good, and I agree with *first last* screw the bags just pile the stuff back into the cart and have a tote box in the car. I will be boycotting Superstore because I believe this is my decision and do not appreciate it being forced down my throat.
    IMHO as always.

  • Lilly
    January 18, 2010 - 11:00

    This is great! it will make me think about using the cloth bags that I do have but never remember to bring with me....I hope they do this on PEI soon...the plastic bags always rip or break open on my anyways....if anything it will make me a smarter consumer. If I put them in the car and always keep them there, then I will always have them. They got rid of the plastic bags altogether in Halifax....

  • NT
    January 18, 2010 - 10:59

    I can't even believe people are complaining about this. Of course they charge more than what they pay, guess what, that's how a business works!

    It was inevitable anyway, and a good alternative to simply getting rid of them. Besides, once you realize how much easier it is using the reusable bags, and how much you can put in them, you wouldn't want the plastic ones anymore. I find the Sobeys reuseable bags much better actually, but have no problem using them at Superstore.

  • nadine
    January 18, 2010 - 10:58

    you can still shop any where you want. and its your choice to not buy the bags! I am surprized that the store doesnt offer their boxes to customers to use for parcels, this way they will also recycle their boxes!!
    you can still use the grosery cart to your car and not use bags.

  • Robert
    January 18, 2010 - 10:56

    I'm a big fan of the green tubs...makes the task of shopping, transporting and putting away the groceries a lot faster and easier.

  • Amanda
    January 18, 2010 - 10:55

    I think this is great... and hopfully for everyone of the pea brains out there that think this is a way for the Coporation to gauge you.... it will bring more environment conscience people into the store. I think that efforts like this are great! I am always getting free cloth bags at different events, and as gifts... AND you can get them at frenchies... so all you belly achers out there need to just suck it up and get over it! Because this is the way the world is moving.. forward! So get with it and do YOUR part to make this place greener.. even if it is just a shade of light green!

  • ThisGirl
    January 18, 2010 - 10:55

    I think this is definitely a money grab on Superstore's part and they are trying to pass it off as their way of being green . Yeah right! Are these bags not recyclable anyways? I hate the Superstore! Last time I was there I had to bag my own groceries! When I'm spending $400+ on groceries every two weeks, I expect to, at the very least, have my bags packed for me! And with two little toddlers in tow, I've had to get parcel pickup and I can't even count how many times I had to sit in that stupid waiting area waiting for the guy to bring out my groceries. Down with Superstore! Sobey's was always a better place to shop anyways and I can guarantee they will be getting 100% of my business now! Pay for shopping bags, get real!

  • Lilly
    January 18, 2010 - 10:55

    This is great! it will make me think about using the cloth bags that I do have but never remember to bring with me....I hope they do this on PEI soon...the plastic bags always rip or break open on my anyways....if anything it will make me a smarter consumer. If I put them in the car and always keep them there, then I will always have them. They got rid of the plastic bags altogether in Halifax....

  • fred
    January 18, 2010 - 10:54

    Nobody knows that the extra money is going to envirmental programs!

  • Synic
    January 18, 2010 - 10:53

    An NSLC employee told me how much we already pay but don't see it for the bags stores have been giving us. Does this mean that the price on the product will go down now or we'll pay twice? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that answer.

  • first last
    January 18, 2010 - 10:52

    put stuff back in your cart and wheel it out to the car. put it in boxes or just carry it armloads like firewood at your house. Don't have to pay for either type of bag.

  • mercyy
    January 18, 2010 - 10:49

    I think it's about time that people were charged for plastic bags. The environment is a concern for all of us and we all have to do our part. Use the cloth bags! What's the big deal!
    People have no problem shopping at Costco in Moncton and they don't even supply bags! I don't hear any complaints there. Get over it and move on.

  • J
    January 18, 2010 - 10:37

    I say good for them. those crooks are forcing us to do things differently...

  • Troy
    January 18, 2010 - 10:37

    They have not even givin us a choice to by plastic here in British Columbia,,lol When we go to the superstore ,we either need to bring our own bags or leave with our groceries in the cart ,,you can't even buy them at the store,,they are stopping altogether with plastic,,In some ways I guess it is good for the enviroment but when are all the tree huggers going to be happy? When we are all sitting around a camp fire eating Rabbit with nothing to use in life cause the earth needs to be cleansed ... What a joke.

  • boycott
    January 18, 2010 - 10:35

    the paper manager must be tree hugger he only deletes some people posts - my posts were clean and against superstore charging .05 cents for bags that they are paying 1.8 cents for and making a profit on it - feel free to delete this one also -- duh

  • D.
    January 18, 2010 - 10:32

    Lisa what the heck?


    I have NEVER bagged my own groceries.... and i go to the superstore all the time... AND i bring my canvess bags most times....

    other people have mentioned this .... about having to bag their own... i have never had this happen....


  • Bizzaro
    January 18, 2010 - 10:32

    Im going in with a big blanket and laying out on the counter and then laying my groceries on it and throwing it over my shoulder.
    Just need to ensure they add more staff, since the change of counters, my wait time has over tripled in amherst at the cash line. The last 2 times were 30 mins before it was my turn

  • ticked off
    January 18, 2010 - 10:31

    I know it ONLY a Nickle per bag....but really common ... plastic bags have always been a COST OF BUSINESS for every grocery Superstore wants to try and come across as the great saver of the planet by charging for us 2.5 times higher than what they pay for bags.... just to have their groceries I buy put in a plastic bags to get out of the store....Dont think so.....Seems to me that in this economy the nickles add up and are better kept in the consumer pockets vs the bottom line profit of SUPERSTORE.
    It seems like a small charge but its principle to me...I have ALWAYS been a superstore shopper but now I will see to it to go elsewhere in town.

  • mary
    January 18, 2010 - 10:31

    It's about time we got rid of those plastic bags and having to pay for them is a good incentive to remember to bring the reusable ones. Look around, spring is almost here and when the snow is gone all one will see is garbage strewn on the ground, all kinds of plastic including bags. We have to take care of our environment NOW. It may already be too late. I applaud Superstore for a take charge action. It's not always about the money. I read into this action caring for the earth.