Sobeys Inc. grocery stores will phase out plastic bags in February. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Central Alberta Sobeys stores will be plastic-bag-free starting on Saturday

The chain will no longer provide single-use plastic bags at 255 Canadian stores

As of Saturday, Central Alberta Sobeys stores are going plastic-bag-free — with Safeway stores soon to follow.

Sobeys Inc. will be the first grocery chain in Canada to ban all single-use plastic bags at the end of January at 255 stores from coast to coast.

Sobeys officials estimate this will take 225 million plastic grocery bags out of circulation each year. A statement from the chain says this is enough bags to wrap around the world — twice.

Shoppers are encouraged to bring their own re-usable bags on their grocery shopping trips. If they forget, Sobeys will be selling large reusable grocery bags for 99 cents, smaller reusable bags for 25 cents, and paper bags for 10 cents, with a portion of paper bag sales going to plant trees in Canada.

Some other retailers in the Red Deer area have been charging customers for plastic bags to reduce their use.

But as “a leader in sustainability,” Sobeys wants to promote reusable options because “plastic use is not something we can recycle our way out of,” states a company release.

“It will take a combination of reducing, reusing and recycling to make an impactful and sustainable change.”

Sobeys Inc.’s other banners — including Safeway, FreshCo and Foodland — are working to phase out single-use plastic checkout bags at their stores, with dates yet to be announced.

According to the Canadian government, 15 billion plastic bags are used in Canada every year. The amount of petroleum it takes to drive a car 1.6 kilometres is the same amount needed to produce 14 plastic bags — which on average, are used for just 12 minutes and take more than 500 years to decompose in landfills.

In 2019, the Canadian government announced plans to “ban harmful single-use plastics as early as 2021 in an effort to reduce the three million tons of plastic waste tossed out by the country every year.”

Many stores in B.C. are already plastic bag free, largely because of limitations imposed by municipalities.

Victoria banned single-use shopping bags two years ago, but an appeal court struck down this ban last summer, ruling it was invalid without provincial endorsement.

Vancouver is now looking at imposing similar rules in 2021. Since the City of Vancouver operates under a different charter than Victoria, staff believe they can act on this.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Government announces 79 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta, 2 in Red Deer

There are 79 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alberta, bringing the provincial… Continue reading

A message from the Advocate publisher

In good times and bad, The Red Deer Advocate has been here… Continue reading

Red Deer hospital bracing for COVID-19 impact

“We’re all worried about what’s coming, but I think we feel confident”

WATCH: COVID-19 doesn’t stop Red Deer Public Library from telling stories

Deb Isbister has been reading stories to children for more than 20… Continue reading

Alberta Health Services provides COVID-19 prevention tips

Alberta Health Services has a number of recommendations for people amid the… Continue reading

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

I am still facing that existential angst

Stir crazy. I looked the phrase up, just for fun. “Restless or… Continue reading

Red Deer College adapting and adjusting to COVID-19

I have worked in post-secondary education for more than 30 years, and… Continue reading

Families urge action to get Canadians home from cruise ship stuck off Panama

1,243 passengers and 586 crew on board and more tests are being done every day

Saskatchewan cabinet Minister deletes ‘pray and repent’ tweet over COVID-19

REGINA — A Saskatchewan cabinet minister who tweeted an Old Testament passage… Continue reading

Ontario allows youth to remain in care after passing cut-off age during pandemic

TORONTO — Youth in Ontario’s child welfare system who pass the cut-off… Continue reading

Canada could face legal trouble over refugee deportations: advocates

Deputy Prime Minister Freeland holding ‘urgent’ discussions with U.S. officials

Most Read