Loblaw Launches National Plastic Shopping Bag Reduction Program | WWF-Canada

Loblaw Launches National Plastic Shopping Bag Reduction Program

Posted on 20 April 2009
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Brampton, ON – April 20, 2009 – In an effort to reduce the environmental impact of plastic shopping bags, starting April 22, 2009, Loblaw corporate and participating franchise stores will no longer provide complimentary plastic shopping bags to customers. Customers will be charged $0.05 for each requested plastic shopping bag. With this initiative Loblaw hopes to meet its stated goal of diverting 1 billion plastic shopping bags from landfills by the end of 2009.

“We are encouraged by our customers’ support of reusable bag practices to reduce waste,” said Galen G. Weston, Executive Chairman, Loblaw Companies Limited. “At Loblaw we are committed to reducing the environmental impact of our operations and driving industry innovation for responsible approaches to business.”

Loblaw has invested and tested various approaches in an effort to identify best practices in reducing plastic shopping bag use. Loblaw data revealed that its stores that have been charging a nominal fee for plastic bags distribute almost 55 per cent fewer bags per $1,000 in sales than those stores that provide plastic shopping bags for free. While Loblaw stores that provide only a rebate to reward the use of reusable bags distributed approximately four per cent fewer plastic shopping bags. In addition, stores involved in the Company’s plastic bag reduction pilot program in the City of Toronto resulted in distributing approximately 75 per cent fewer plastic shopping bags per $1000 in sales. The data reveals that a nominal charge for bag strategy is the key driver behind significantly reducing plastic shopping bag use.

Loblaw is proud to be working with WWF-Canada to further encourage Canadians to demonstrate their support of the environment. For the next three years, Loblaw will provide a corporate donation and partial proceeds from the charge on plastic shopping bags from corporate stores totaling $3 million to WWF-Canada. This will support the development of WWF-Canada’s national program to help Canadians reduce their daily environmental footprint through simple planet-friendly actions. The program includes a series of targeted campaigns aimed at inspiring at least 1 million Canadians to make changes to their behaviour, such as the use of reusable bags, as first steps toward sustainable living and to demonstrate that small actions make a real difference to the environment. WWF-Canada will engage Canadians in their own communities, be they online, offline, urban or rural, and recognize those who are leading by example and celebrate personal and collective action. In the province of Quebec WWF-Canada will be working with the Quebec Environment Foundation (FQE) to administer the program.

“Loblaw has shown great leadership in helping Canadians give up plastic bags,” says Gerald Butts, President and CEO, WWF-Canada. “We are excited to work with Loblaw to help Canadians take further actions to live healthier, more sustainable lives.”

The remainder of the proceeds from the charge on plastic bags will be used to cover the cost of the Loblaw plastic shopping bag reduction program and invested back in the business in price and customer service.

Shopping with reusable bags requires a change in behaviour by customers and Canadians are supportive of making that change. Research conducted in March 2009 for Loblaw by Leger Marketing revealed that 81 per cent of Canadians support Loblaw’s plan to divert 1 billion plastic shopping bags from landfills by implementing a pay for plastic bag program.

Many efforts are being taken to assist customers in this transition, from the Bring It reminder signage campaign, in-store customer announcements, limited time promotional offers on reusable bag options and importantly a new, 33 per cent larger and heavier gauge plastic shopping bag. The new bag is now made with 15 per cent plastic waste material recovered from the manufacturing process and the thicker larger bag makes it stronger, allowing for repeat use and more items per bag.

To help customers make the transition to reusable bag options, Loblaw corporate and franchise stores are offering a variety of special limited time promotions. From April 16 to 26, there will be a 50 per cent off promotion in all corporate and participating franchise stores on all PC® G.R.E.E.N™. Reusable Shopping Bags (large and original size) and from April 22 to 30, online coupons will be available from individual Loblaw store banner websites for a free PC G.R.E.E.N. Box with a minimum $60 purchase at stores. If customers of participating stores forget their reusable bags, they can borrow Loblaw’s PC G.R.E.E.N Box for a fully refundable deposit.

About WWF-Canada
WWF-Canada is part of WWF, the world’s largest conservation organization. At WWF we advocate and promote lasting solutions to the challenge of balancing growing human need and environmental sustainability. In collaboration with business, government, communities and individuals we take a science-based approach to the protection, management and restoration of environmentally sensitive parts of our planet. Our work includes visionary projects focused on climate change, freshwater and the health of habitat and species across Canada and around the world. For more information about WWF-Canada visit wwf.ca

About FQE :
The Quebec Environment Foundation (FQE) was founded in 1987 by a group of prominent Quebecers who wished to take concrete action towards ensuring a better management for our environment. The Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to raise Quebec’s awareness of environmental issues through information and action, and to encourage a change in societal attitudes and habits in this regard. In addition, the FQE works to accelerate behavioural changes in the face of numerous environmental issues. The Quebec Environment Foundation also accompanies enterprises, governments and the general population in their efforts to take tangible actions towards reducing their environmental impact.

About Loblaw Companies Limited
Loblaw Companies Limited, a subsidiary of George Weston Limited, is Canada's largest food distributor and a leading provider of drugstore, general merchandise and financial products and services. Loblaw is one of the largest private sector employers in Canada. With more than 1,000 corporate and franchised stores from coast to coast, Loblaw and its franchisees employ over 139,000 full-time and part-time employees. Through its portfolio of store formats, Loblaw is committed to providing Canadians with a wide, growing and successful range of products and services to meet the everyday household demands of Canadian consumers. Loblaw is known for the quality, innovation and value of its food offering. It offers Canada's strongest control (private) label program, including the unique President's Choice®, no name® and Joe Fresh Style®brands. In addition, the Company makes available to consumers President's Choice Financial® services and offers the PC® points loyalty program.

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