February 6, 2006

Food retailer and partners score hit with reusable, recycled plastic bags

A reusable grocery bag made of 100% recycled plastic, introduced in stores throughout Quebec in mid-January, has proved to be a hit with consumers. So far, more than 600,000 bags have already been sold in Metro, Metro Plus and Super C stores, significantly reducing the use of single-use, throw-away plastic bags.

"We're very pleased to see how well our customers have responded to our plea to reduce the number of plastic bags used in grocery stores and that ultimately end up in the environment," said Metro vice-president Serge Boulanger.

The machine-washable bag was developed by Metro, a major food retailer, in partnership with Boissons Gazeuses Environnement and Recyc-Québec, the provincial agency responsible for recycling programs in Quebec.

The reusable bag is big enough to replace two or three conventional grocery bags and can be used to return "Québec Refund" returnable containers to authorized retail outlets.

Metro and its partners note that between 1.4 and 2.7 billion conventional plastic grocery bags are circulated annually in Québec alone, with each Quebecer using about 350 bags per year. The typical life expectancy of one bag is about 20 minutes, but in a landfill, that bag will take nearly 400 years to decompose.

Metro operates nearly 600 food stores in Quebec and Ontario under the banners Metro, Metro Plus, Super C, A&P, Dominion, Loeb and Food Basics, as well as more than 250 pharmacies under the banners Brunet, CliniPlus, The Pharmacy and Drug Basics.

Boissons Gazeuses Environnement is a non-profit organization responsible for managing Quebec's consignment system for non-refillable soft drink containers in accordance with an agreement signed by the Minister of Environment and the provincial soft drink bottling industry association. The terms of the agreement include objectives for the recovery of soft-drink containers.

More information is available from Marie-Claude Bacon at Metro, 514/643-1086.

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