plastic toronto

These are some of the unique ways Toronto stores are reducing their use of plastic

As the conversation about how to live more environmentally conscious lives continues, stores are being encouraged to ditch plastic once and for all. 

This week, the Retail Council of Canada sent a letter to the Ontario government asking for a harmonized approach to single-use plastics.

They also said their members “are supportive of going green – just without increased red tape," according to a press release.

Currently in Ontario, four regions are in the midst of developing plastic policies, including Toronto. 

The city of Toronto is in phase two of consultations with the public on single-use plastics. 

 A public event was held on September 24 on the matter, there's currently a public survey available, there are two telephone/web town halls taking place in October and a series of stakeholder consultations will also take place. 

But despite the long process required by municipal and provincial governments in order to implement restrictions, some stores in Toronto are taking matters into their own hands. 

Just two months ago, Canadian grocery chain Sobey's announced they'd be getting rid of all plastic bags by February 2020 and they predict this change will save 225 million plastic grocery bags across the country each year. 

They were the first national grocery store to make that commitment. 

They also announced they'd be getting rid of their plastic bags in the produce aisle and replacing them with reusable mesh bags made from recycled water bottles.

IGA in Montreal is also planning to eliminate plastic bags in all of their stores, which includes SafewayFreshCoFoodlandFarm BoyPrice ChopperThrifty Foods and Lawton’s Drug Stores.

While many major grocery chains have yet to ban plastic bags entirely, the vast majority have implemented a small fee for the bags. 

One such store is Loblaws, and according to the grocery chain, they have reduced the number of plastic shopping bags from their stores by nearly 12 billion through the pay-for-bag approach since 2007.

To date, they've donated $10 million to WWF-Canada through partial proceeds from the sale of plastic bags. 

Loblaws has also launched a 100 per cent compostable single-serve coffee pod through an innovation partnership with Guelph University and a Canadian supplier, reduced packaging in private brand products by more than 4.9 million kgs since 2009, removed all plastic microbeads from personal care and beauty products, begun using reusable produce containers to ship produce, and more.

On a smaller scale, a grocery store in the Junction, The Sweet Potato, recently announced they would begin taking back their customer’s plastic containers in order to ensure they're properly recycled.

A restaurant near the St. Lawrence Market, Farmr, has introduced reusable containers for their takeout orders.

And for those hoping to make even less of an environmental impact, Toronto also has multiple zero-waste grocery stores to allow customers to shop without any plastic at all. 

Unboxed MarketBare market and Token are a few of the stores in Toronto that do their best to avoid single-use packaging altogether and encourage shoppers to bring their own containers, jars and bags. 

But while there are a variety of shopping options in Toronto for those looking to reduce their use of plastic, more can definitely be done.

And multiple federal political parties have vowed to ban single-use plastics nation-wide as early as 2021, so it's time all stores get on board the zero-waste train.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez 

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