Nfld. & Labrador

Ditching plastic bags surprisingly painless for Twillingate store

The owner of a grocery store in Twillingate says lots of giveaways have paved the way for a pretty painless divorce from plastic bags.

Stuckless Freshmart was 1 of 4 stores to ditch the bag this year

Twillingate shopper Stan Parsons packs groceries into his reusable plastic bag at the Stuckless Freshmart in June. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

Five months after grocery stores in the Twillingate area formally ditched the single-use plastic bag, one store owner said his business has had a pretty painless break-up.

Stuckless Freshmart was one of four big stores in the Twillingate area to sign a plastic-free pledge, a challenge issued to them by the local DFO detachment.

The Freshmart stopped offering customers plastic bags in February, and owner Colin Stuckless said in mid-June that the switch was easier than he anticipated.

"A little surprising, because plastic bags have been around for years, and to switch now to none — and have to remember to bring your bags, I thought it might be a bigger challenge," he said.

"But no, it's been good." 

Help from the DFO and others

Stuckless said that stores had a lot of help with the transition.

Colin Stuckless owns the Stuckless Freshmart in Twillingate. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

First, the DFO supplied more than 6,000 bags to the four stores.

Then, after those ran out, other community groups like the local Lions Clubs and Kin Clubs stepped up with their own, according to Stuckless.

"So the customers didn't have to spend any money on upfront," Stuckless said.

"And that, I think, was a big contributor to making it easier. Because they didn't have to spend money and they were getting free bags to get them started." 

Local shopper Stan Parsons called the move a "good start." He believes other communities will follow in Twillingate's footsteps.

"Most people are concerned about the environment today. Worldwide. And we're way behind the times," he said.

"I was glad of it, yeah. We got to do our part, mother nature can't take care of it all, right?" 

Stan Parsons says North America is far behind Europe for environmental initiatives like plastic bag bans and replacements. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

Stuckless Freshmart now has reusable cloth bags for sale, but the owner said most of the customers he sees already have plenty — as many as eight or nine. So even if they forget to bring some into the store, they usually have a few in their car.

Stuckless said reaction from his customers has been very positive.

"They think it's a great idea. They see on the news, and different areas of the problems with plastic, and the problems in the ocean, and they just want to be a part of it," he said. 

"So, everybody do a little small bit, and it can result in a major clean up." 

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About the Author

Garrett Barry

Journalist

Garrett Barry is a CBC reporter based in Gander.

With files from The Broadcast

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