CANADA – Canadian food and pharmacy company Loblaw Companies Ltd. (L.TO) has announced plans to eliminate all single-use plastic shopping bags by the end of the first quarter of 2023.

The parent company of Loblaws and Shoppers Drug Mart says the move will apply to its 2500 corporate and franchise grocery stores, pharmacies, and PC Express service.

According to the firm, single-use plastic shopping bags are being phased out systematically, province by province, as its customers have already embraced the reusable bag concept.

The imposition of a plastic bag fee resulted in a 70% reduction in the use of plastic bags in its stores, with customers instead opting for the distinctive PC reusable bag and plastic bins as eco-friendly alternatives.

The firm will aim to eliminate the bags from its corporate and franchise grocery stores, pharmacies, and PC Express service across Canada

Customers will be supplied with a variety of reusable alternatives as the single-use plastic shopping bags will be phased out province by province, said the retailer.

Loblaw Companies chief operating officer Robert Sawyer said: “As a purpose-led organization, committed to helping Canadians live life well, we are proud to be taking a significant step on such an important environmental issue.

Since 2007, our efforts to reduce the number of single-use plastic shopping bags leaving our stores have led to 13.8 billion fewer bags potentially going into landfill.”

Loblaw said that this is the latest in a long line of announcements related to its initiatives in the areas of environmental, social, and governance (ESG).

The firm has goals to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions for Scope 1 and 2 by 2040 and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions for Scope 3 by 2050.

The company is also aiming to reduce plastic waste by making all control brands and in-store packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025 and sending zero food waste to landfills by 2030.

Meanwhile, in April this year, the company replaced unrecyclable packaging of the coffee aisle with a paper-based solution.

Produced by Loblaw’s long-time partner Club Coffee, the new AromaPak with Boardio technology is made with a minimum of 80% paper content from renewable, recyclable, and sustainable Forest Stewardship Council sourced tree fibers.

This new packaging has earned the PC team a 2022 Global Packaging Award for Package Innovation and Sustainable Design.

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