Not everyone following Walmart's move to charge for plastic bags

Dave Stewart
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The Guardian asks Islanders what they think of the move by Walmart to charge five cents per bag

Walmart Canada is going to start charging customers for plastic bags as part of its strategy for cutting the amount of plastic that ends up in landfills.

Beginning Feb. 9, the chain will charge five cents each for plastic bags, with reusable bags available for a discounted rate of 25 cents each.

The company said Tuesday the introduction of a small fee in other countries has helped Walmart reduce the number of plastic bags by more than half.

Walmart says some of the proceeds from the new charge will go toward supporting recycling initiatives for grocery bags and other thin plastic objects. The company said it's also going to improve in-store recycling and collection programs and work with suppliers to find ways of removing plastic from its packaging. Attempts by The Guardian to speak with Walmart Canada's media spokesperson were not successful.

WE ASKED: What is your reaction to the news Walmart is going to charge five cents for plastic bags beginning Feb. 1?

Other supermarket chains in Canada have also attempted to help the environment by slapping a small fee on plastic bags, with mixed results, at least in Atlantic Canada.

Mark Boudreau, director of corporate affairs for Loblaw Atlantic, which operates Atlantic Superstore, said its stores have been charging five cents per plastic bag since 2007, except in Atlantic Canada.

"In Atlantic Canada, when it was introduced, it wasn't really well received,'' Boudreau told The Guardian on Tuesday. "And, at the time, none of our competitors were doing so (so it was scrapped).''

While Superstore has continued to charge five cents per plastic bag across Canada since then, the experiment didn't even last through 2007 in Atlantic Canada.

"We have a different client base here (with) a lot of older clients; an aging population.''

Boudreau said Superstore has cut the number of plastic bags it produces by seven billion since 2009 and contributes about $1 million of those savings to the World Wildlife Federation to support initiatives such as shoreline cleanups.

It also operates a store in Halifax that doesn't offer plastic bags as an option at all.

Shauna Selig, who handles corporate communications for Sobeys in Atlantic Canada, said there is no charge for plastic bags at its stores.

"We don't charge for plastic bags and we do offer Green Bags for Life for 99 cents, and they are for life,'' Selig said. "In the rare event that a bag's life has reached its end, customers can bring it in and we will replace it free of charge.''

(With files by The Canadian Press)

dstewarttheguardian.pe.ca

Organizations: Walmart, Loblaw Atlantic, World Wildlife Federation Sobeys

Geographic location: Atlantic Canada, Halifax

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Recent comments

  • Raymond
    May 18, 2016 - 14:28

    The last time Loblaws tried this was when I stopped shopping there, time to stop shopping at Walmart. The CEO who is behind this must be taking home millions in bonuses at the expense of the customers. Who wants to buy anything when they know there is nothing to carry the groceries in. Good bye Walmart.

  • vernon deon
    February 01, 2016 - 13:56

    bs wallmart could care less about enviroment its all about money and enviro activists. wallmart needs to get more pressure from the government to be more morally respectfull in employer employee relations like over hiring then cutting hours, benifits etc.

  • Truth
    January 27, 2016 - 13:22

    "environment" wow how stupid people caring about being charged for plastic bag. There's no guarantee all plastic bags are recycled. Glad there's a carbon tax. It's time to start caring about the "environment". They're just deterring consumers from using plastic bags which from some comments seems like it's already happening. Use reuseable bags!

  • rigpei
    January 27, 2016 - 12:29

    Something to think about...Plastic is indestructible, it just breaks down into smaller and smaller particles. There are more plastic microns in the ocean now than fish. Fish are eating these small plastic particles, we are eating these fish and now it is our bodies. Doubt this? Have a blood test and you will find this to be true as well as find other chemicals in your body from pesticides that have been absorbed from eating those delicious PEI potatoes.

  • accept responsibility
    January 27, 2016 - 12:16

    Hey folks. If you don't want to pay for a plastic bag, either bring your own or DON'T SHOP AT WALMART !!!! Nobody is forcing you to do anything in this world. Grow up and act your ages for once. Or get out of your parents' basements.

  • Fed up
    January 27, 2016 - 09:57

    Just a big farce, telling us it's for the environment. We already recycle. It's just a sneaky way for Walmart to draw more money out of us. I'll take a bag from home....one purchased somewhere else. Everyone should do the same!

  • Joyce Bernard
    January 27, 2016 - 06:44

    I love the idea. I am one of those who always "forgets" her reusable bags. All stores should so this. Now I will remember!!

  • Leigh
    January 27, 2016 - 05:59

    Another case of making the consumer pay while the big manufacturers still insist on wrapping everything in plastic.A lot of theses grocery bags are being recycled while the plastic packages (that you can't even get open) end up in the landfill.Time to get the big guys to help save the environment and let the rest of us keep some of our money.

  • Stop the madness
    January 27, 2016 - 05:24

    I would rather pay 10 cents for paper bags.

  • mad as hell
    January 27, 2016 - 04:56

    We already recycle here. Why would I pay for bags here to reduce their use in places like Toronto? No thanks.

  • BUDDY
    January 27, 2016 - 04:01

    This will add Millions to Walmart's Bottom Line...Any plastic bags on P.E.I. that are not re-used for other things are Recycled...This Decision is Pure Greed Plain and Simple.

  • laurent Beaulieu
    January 26, 2016 - 23:34

    The plastic bag issue is an important one. PEI is an Island on the ocean, we all know the pollution created by plastic bags and how harmful it is to the Sea and wildlife. If a nickel is going to stop you from shopping then you are in dire financial straits. The environment is no joke and Walmart is not making an effort here to be a good Corp Citizen.

    • Mary
      January 27, 2016 - 06:10

      Enough of the environment BS ! 99% of the plastic bags are reused and recycled. Piggy backing on the Environment is the new norm for collecting tax and at the end of the day did nothing for the so Called "environment".......get used to it folks because Trudeau and his army have a carbon tax coming thats going to see a tax on everything!