Charlene Williams loads her groceries into a Hauler Bag assisted by Kyle's No Frills owner Kyle MacGillivray. (Photo Gerry Leibel)

Charlene Williams loads her groceries into a Hauler Bag assisted by Kyle's No Frills owner Kyle MacGillivray. (Photo Gerry Leibel)

Kitimat moves towards getting rid of plastic bags

Local stores following national trends

Kitimat businesses are joining the province-wide move to get rid of plastic bags and offer customers more environmentally friendly options to carry their purchases.

One of those businesses is Kyle’s No Frills which will not have plastic bags for sale when the current stock is depleted.

“By getting rid of plastic bags we are hoping to lead by example,” said Kyle’s No Frills owner Kyle MacGillivray.

He said the store had implemented a phased approach to removing bags from its checkout counters, making other options readily available, including the reusable Hauler Bags, adding that the store has received mostly positive comments.

“A lot of customers had already moved towards not buying plastic bags.”

Save On Foods store manager John Riecker said the store would implement a national strategy for plastic bags.

“At this time we are actively looking for solutions to plastics and packaging issues that will work for our customers and ensure the best environmental outcomes,” said Riecker.

BC Liquor Distribution Branch (BCLDB) corporate communications manager Viviana Zanocco said BC Liquor Stores’ (BCLS) Kitimat branch will be one of the 197 stores across the province to phase out plastic bags.

She said BCLDB recently closed a request for proposal (RFP) calling for a supplier to provide paper bags for all its stores.

“We will select a supplier as soon as the responses have been evaluated. Presently we don’t have a timeline for the adoption of paper bags, or a deadline. Paper will replace plastic bags in phases, and stores will be converted based on geographic areas,” said Zanocco.

She added that each store would be offering customers one free, reusable cloth bag while supplies last as the group transitions over to paper bags.

“Unless a municipal bylaw specifies otherwise, BCLS customers will be charged $0.10 per bag. The nominal charge is designed to encourage customers to provide their own bag and to support an overall reduction in checkout bag distribution,” said Zanocco.

“This is a change our customers and communities are in support of, and that will eliminate our use of approximately 22 million plastic bags, annually.”

She said stores operating in municipalities where plastic checkout bag bylaws have been adopted (such as Victoria, Tofino, Ucluelet and Rossland) have already converted from plastic to paper bags, and customers have been very supportive.

“We are committed to minimizing the impact of our operations on the environment, and to providing customers with checkout bags that are manufactured responsibly and widely recyclable,” she added.

In 2015, BCLS made the switch to using 100 per cent recyclable checkout bags that contained 25 per cent post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, reducing plastic use by 21,000 kilograms.

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Kitimat Northern Sentinel