Sudbury

Grocery store chain plastic bag removal welcomed by most Sudburians

A Sudbury group aiming at reducing plastic consumption is applauding a decision by a major grocery chain to remove plastic bags.

Sobeys says it will scrap plastic bags from all stores in 2020

Sobeys has announced it will ban plastic bags from its operations entirely by January, 2020. (Ken Linton/CBC)

A Sudbury group aiming at reducing plastic consumption is applauding a decision by a major grocery chain to remove plastic bags from their operations.

On Wednesday, Sobeys announced it is phasing out plastic bags from its 225 locations by the end of January 2020. Sobeys also owns FreshCo, Safeway, Foodland and IGA stores.

The company says the move will take 225 million plastic grocery bags out of circulation each year.

Plastic Free Sudbury co-chair Liz Anawati calls the decision "incredibly significant."

"I think when we look at this big picture, I think it's a step in the right direction," she said.

"It's not going to be the solution but it's definitely a step in the right direction because they're a leader. Other people tend to follow these big groups that do this stuff."

Anawati says she hopes other grocery chains will follow their lead.

"I think it's consumer driven a lot of the time so it just depends on their customers," she said.

"If the customers aren't demanding it, then they probably won't change."

'All about choice'

Many Sudburians say they agree with the move, including Justin Soloman.

"The reusable bags, everyone should pretty much be using them," he said.

"That way, it will keep the earth and water clean."

Ryan Talbot says he still uses the plastic bags quite often.

"But if they phase them out, it will make people use the paper or reusable bags more," he said.

Tina Rheault says she still uses plastic bags for groceries. She admits if other grocery stores ban plastic bags it would "force" her to start using reusable bags.

"I'm all about choice," she said. "Take my choice away, you might take my business away."

There's been an ongoing move to end single-use plastics. Some restaurants have gotten rid of plastic straws and grocery stores now charge for plastic bags. The Prime Minister said by 2021, his government will ban single-use plastics. Sobey's announced all its grocery stores will be getting rid of plastic bags by the end of January 2020. Reporter Jamie-Lee McKenzie hit the streets of Sudbury to see how people feel about this decision. 6:48

With files from Angela Gemmill & Jamie-Lee McKenzie

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