«Hugely important step» — starting at the local Provigo on July 1 — is in response to a grassroots environmental initiative.
A West Island grassroots initiative — after almost a year of lobbying — has convinced a local grocery chain store and the adjacent shopping mall to voluntarily phase out the use of single-use plastic shopping bags.
Ideally, organizers would have appreciated the backing of a provincial or federal law prohibiting single-use plastics from being provided to customers for a nominal fee, at the commercial and retail level. It all comes down to removing the chance that the plastics that are polluting the Earth and its oceans will end up in landfills or domestic recycling bins.
A plastic bag dropped into a recycling bin doesn’t always mean the material will actually be reused. Instead, it could end up being sorted as garbage.
The Friends of the Environment Baie-D’Urfé group has been working with the management of the local Provigo to find a way to get people to use their reusable bags rather than asking for a plastic bag at the cash, said organizer Susan Hawker.
“After much thought and discussion, Francis Deroo (manager) of Baie-D’Urfé Provigo has decided to stop providing plastic bags at the checkout as of July 1. This is a hugely important step,” Hawker told the West Island Gazette.
Hawker added that it’s the first Provigo in Quebec to voluntarily decide to not provide plastic shopping bags. It’s hoped the decision will start a trend with other grocery stores taking part.
“They will start asking people to bring reusable bags,” she said of the Baie-D’Urfé store.
It’s a habit people must start getting used to more and more, considering the “horrors” single-use plastic bags are causing to our eco-systems, Hawker added.
“I have about 20 reusable bags that are useful for all sorts of things,” she said.
From May 4 until July 1, the Baie-D’Urfé Provigo will start charging a nominal fee for providing plastic shopping bags, in order to sensitize customers to the fact that the store won’t provide bags at the cash as of July 1.
Hawker said that Provigo will continue to stock plastic household garbage bags on its shelves for people to purchase.
And she said she has been promised that the entire Baie-D’Urfé shopping mall will also voluntarily stop offering single-use plastic shopping bags at some point this year.
The local SAQ, as is the case at all of the province’s liquor outlets, has not provided single-use plastic bags for years, instead selling reusable bags designed to hold several glass bottles.
Meanwhile, the City of Montreal plans to table a bylaw to ban single-use plastic items, from cups, to straws to take-away containers, in 2020.
As I noted in a recent column, recycling efforts should begin with sound consumption choices, which means efforts should be made to produce as little residual waste as possible.
If more grassroots initiatives pop up around the West Island and throughout Quebec, stores as well as the provincial government will take notice. Any increase in efforts to join this growing trend will help prevent plastic waste from ending up in our oceans and tangled in piles of garbage.
An awareness event about single-use plastic bags will held this Saturday at around 10 a.m. at the Baie-D’Urfé Provigo, located at Morgan Rd. and Highway 20.
Mayor Maria Tutino and Lac St-Louis MP Francis Scarpaleggia will speak at the launch. As well, there will be a slide-show presentation detailing the negatives of single-use plastic containers and bags.