Tips for retailers: why should you choose to be plastic bag free?

Shopper carrying plastic bag

The average plastic bag is used for five minutes.

  1. Lower your costs
    Plastic bags are an accepted cost for most retailers. The retail industry currently spends hundreds of millions of dollars each year giving away ‘free’ plastic bags at a cost to their business. By choosing to go plastic bag free you no longer have to pay for plastic bags, and your savings can be passed on to your customers which can only make you more competitive.
  2. Turn a cost into a profit
    Why not turn a cost into a profit? By choosing to go plastic bag free, you no longer have to pay for plastic bags. Instead, you can make a profit selling environmentally conscious reusable bags.
  3. Create great local PR
    You can create some great local PR by contacting your local newspaper and radio station to let them know that you are taking action to reduce the billions of plastic check-out bags used by Canadians every year.
  4. Get involved in your community
    Instead of giving away a free plastic bag, charge 10 cents per plastic bag and give the proceeds to local charities.
  5. Be at the forefront of change
    By reducing plastic bag use, you will be at the forefront of change, and helping to reduce our environmental footprint.

Guide for retailers: how to make the change

  1. Offer reusable bags for sale to customers
    There are a variety of reusable alternatives to plastic bags, such as polyfabric, calico, and paper bags.
  2. Retrain your staff
    Train staff to ask customers “do you need a bag?” with their purchase.
  3. Promote reusable bag options
    Create a prominent display of your reusable bags near the check-out. Educate staff to promote your reusable bag options to all customers by saying, “would you like to buy a reusable bag?
  4. Educate your customers
    Put plastic bag reduction posters and brochures near the cash register to educate customers about why they should refuse a plastic bag.