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B.C industry brings in comprehensive plan on plastic bags


September 25, 2008
By Amanda Ryder


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NEWS HIGHLIGHT

B.C industry brings in comprehensive plan on plastic bags
Four of Canada's leading retail associations have endorsed a plan to
significantly reduce the number of plastic bags distributed in British
Columbia over the next five years.

Four of Canada's leading retail
associations have endorsed a plan to significantly reduce the number of
plastic bags distributed in British Columbia over the next five years.

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The groups behind the initiative include the Retail Council of Canada
(RCC), the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors (CCGD), the
Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG) and the Canadian
Association of Chain Drug Stores (CACDS).

The program includes commitments to a goal to reduce the use of plastic
bags by 50 per cent in five years; consumer education initiatives to
promote the use of reusable shopping bags; appropriate and meaningful
incentives to encourage consumers to reduce plastic bag demand; and the
provision of collection points for single-use plastic bags to be
recycled where possible. It also includes annual monitoring and
reporting to ensure progress is made.

"With an estimated 1.5 billion plastic bags distributed in B.C. each
year, retailers are going to need help from our customers to meet this
target," said Max Logan, B.C. Director, RCC. "Retailers can provide the
alternatives, but ultimately its up to customers make the best choices."

The partners will work jointly to implement a practical, province-wide
'reduce, reuse and recycle' solution for plastic bags distributed in
retail stores. This will ensure that British Columbians in all regions
will enjoy similar benefits through this industry-led plastic bag
stewardship program.

"Independent grocers are an integral part of B.C. communities and
that's why we are participating in this co-operative initiative," said
John Scott, President and CEO, CFIG "It will see less litter on
neighbourhood streets and we look forward to working with all
retailers, governments and consumers to make this happen."

"CCGD and our members believe it is our responsibility to our
communities, our customers and the environment move forward with a
sustainable plan to reduce and recycle the number of plastic bags being
distributed in British Columbia," said Nick Jennery of the CCGD. "This
plan builds on the programs already underway through the leadership of
our member companies in offering collection points for the recycling of
plastic bags in our stores in B.C. and offering reusable carry out bags
to consumers."

"The B.C. government applauds the retail sector of British Columbia for
taking a proactive approach to reducing the number of plastic bags that
are distributed each year in B.C," said Barry Penner, B.C. Minister of
Environment. "Anything we can do to reduce the amount of garbage going into our landfills is a step in the right direction."

Ultimately, British Columbian customers will determine the success of
the reduction initiative, making public outreach and consultation
fundamental to its success. Participating associations will work
closely with the Province, the Recycling Council of BC, and the Union
of British Columbian Municipalities and its members to promote the
agreement and encourage British Columbians to reduce, reuse and recycle
their plastic bags.


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