Guide for customers: refuse a plastic bag today!

Woman carrying a reusable bag

A reusable bag only has to be used 11 times to have a lower environmental impact.

Canadians use approximately 9 billion plastic shopping bags every year. Combine the number of bags we use every year with the time it takes for them to break down and you have a major environmental problem.

Plastic bags are not only detrimental to our wildlife and environment, but they are also costing us money. Plastic bags add millions of dollars a year to our grocery bills and, thanks to wind-borne litter, we also pay for them through our taxes and council rates to fund stormwater, waste, and litter management.

The good news is that you can do something about it. And it’s easy! Here are some tips to help you reduce your plastic bag usage:

  1. Use reusable bags, boxes, shopping trolleys or a backpack for your shopping.
  2. Say ‘NO’ to plastic bags at the cash register if you only have a few items.
  3. Keep your reusable bags near the front door in your home or office, or in your car so you always have them with you when you go to the supermarket or other stores.
  4. Reuse plastic bags you have accumulated the next time you go shopping, or as liners for your trash can.
  5. Open your eyes to how many plastic shopping bags you have at home. Keep count and try to reduce the number you take home.
  6. Spread the word. Ask your local stores to stop providing plastic bags for free, or to offer a discount for not taking a plastic bag. Ask them to stock plastic bag alternatives if they don’t already and encourage friends and family to also get involved.
  7. Encourage your local politicians to introduce legislation taxing or banning plastic bags.

TIP: After you unpack your groceries at home, make sure you put your reusable bags straight back on the front seat of your car or at your front door. That way, you won’t forget them the next time you shop!