Would you like a plastic bag with that?

Signing of the Plastic Bag Reduction Strategy MOU

“Did you know Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development signed a voluntary memorandum of understanding with industry to help reduce the number of plastic bags distributed to Alberta consumers by 50 per cent over five years?”

In 2008, Albertans took home more than 741 million plastic bags – that’s 215 bags each for every man, woman and child.

The good news is that since committing to the Alberta Plastic Bag Distribution Reduction Strategy in 2010, Canada’s major grocery and retail, independent grocers and drugstore associations have reduced their plastic bag distribution by 20.5 per cent – keeping approximately 150 million bags out of landfills during the first year alone!

Results from the first Alberta Plastic Bag Distribution annual report show:

  • Gross plastic bag distribution decreased by 20.5 per cent to just over 589 million bags.
  • Per capita plastic bag use is down to 166 – that’s a reduction of nearly 50 bags!
  • Reusable bag use increased 26.5 per cent (approximately 600,000 bags) to just over 2.9 million bags.
  • 238 retail stores provided in-store collection bins for recycling used plastic bags.

Industry attributes its progress to a variety of factors, including in-store incentives that encourage reduction and recycling, the increased availability – and fashionability – of reusable bags, greater consumer awareness, and changing consumer behaviour.

These promising results show that retail association members – who are responsible for 90 per cent of all plastic bags distributed in Alberta – and savvy shoppers are well on their way to achieving a 50 per cent reduction by 2013.

Stay tuned for further updates. Industry’s second annual report is due shortly and ESRD is eager to see if they have achieved their 30 per cent mid-term target.

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