WEYBURN - Local shoppers are going to have to be more mindful to have reusable shopping bags, as plastic bags are being banned in more and more businesses. As much as it is a good thing to reduce the amount of plastic being sent to our landfills, it seems to be an unfortunate time as many families are struggling with meeting grocery expenses as it is, and many will not be able to afford to purchase reusable bags.
The Liberal federal government has set 2030 as the target date for halting the flow of plastic waste that ends up in landfills or as litter on beaches, in rivers, wetlands and forests.
According to the federal government, the ban on harmful single-use plastics will result in the estimated elimination of over 1.3 million tonnes of hard-to-recycle plastic waste and more than 22,000 tonnes of plastic pollution, which is equivalent to over one million full garbage bags.
There is an extra responsibility on business owners and shoppers now, as many grocery stores will be required to have reusable bags available for sale. It will take shoppers some adjustment to get used to always having their own bags when they go shopping.
I think a good idea for any Chamber is to organize a reusable shopping bag give-away, and work with several of their local businesses to sponsor free reusable bags to be given-away to local residents.
It not only would be a great promotion for that local business to support the give-away, but would be another great benefit to shopping local. Maybe there could be an extra contest too, allowing shoppers to take pictures of shopping with their reusable bags and tagging those local businesses, and having a chance to win gift cards or certificates to the places they shop.
I have always recycled my plastic bags, and hopefully there will still be programs that allow me to do that, as it is one more way of preventing those plastic bags from ending up in the landfill.
Plus I have saved some larger reusable bags, from other times that I needed a stronger bag for purchases. I just need to remember to start taking those reusable bags with me when I go shopping.
There was also a time during COVID-19 restrictions when unfortunately reusable shopping bags were not permitted, so those mandates had put the country behind a little on meeting the initial goal.
The single-use plastic ban is a great idea, but hopefully there will be incentives and supports put in place by the federal and provincial governments that will help local businesses adapt to the change.
By all working together, and working as a community to support our local businesses, the move to using reusable bags will become part of our new shopping habits. Hopefully we can all help in the effort of reducing plastic waste in our communities.