Super A To Discontinue Plastic Shopping Bags

As of May 1, plastic shopping bags will no longer be available at the Swan Hills Super A. The grocery store will be offering basic reusable bags to customers for free from May 1 – May 7, to help them make the transition away from disposable plastic bags. After May 7, customers will need to either bring their own reusable bags or purchase them from the store.

Super A will have several varieties of reusable shopping bags to choose from. There will be a basic bag made with thinner materials, a larger and more sturdy option, an insulated bag suitable for cold or frozen products, and a collapsible tote.

When asked what led to this change in operations, Store Manager Sandra Thomsen explained that the TGP warehouse which supplies the Swan Hills Super A will no longer have plastic shopping bags available past April.

The reason for this change may lie with the Government of Canada’s ban on single-use plastics.

The Government of Canada published the Single-use Plastics Prohibition Regulations (SPPR) on June 22, 2022, outlining the timeline for a phased approach to prohibiting six categories of single-use plastics. These six categories of plastic items were selected for prohibition due to being commonly found in the environment, harmful to wildlife and wildlife habitats, difficulty in recycling, and the ready availability of alternatives. These are the relevant categories of single-use plastics:

· Checkout Bags: Commonly given to customers upon checkout to carry their purchased items from a business.

· Cutlery: Disposable knives, forks, spoons, sporks, and chopsticks.

· Foodservice Ware: Items for serving or carrying food or beverages; specifically, those containing expanded polystyrene foam, extruded polystyrene foam, polyvinyl chloride, carbon black, and oxo-degradable plastics.

· Ring Carriers: Flexible plastic devices used to surround beverage containers to enable carrying them together, such as the plastic rings used to hold together and carry six-packs.

· Stir Sticks: Implements for stirring or mixing beverages, or to prevent beverages from spilling out of the lid of a container.

· Straws: This includes straight drinking straws and flexible drinking straws. The SPPR contains exceptions to allow single-use plastic flexible straws to remain available for people requiring them for medical or accessibility reasons.

The first step of Canada’s SPPR came into effect on December 20, 2022. As of this date, the manufacture and import of five out of the six identified categories of single-use plastics for the purpose of selling within Canada are now prohibited. This includes checkout bags, cutlery, foodservice ware, stir sticks, and straws. The sale of these items will be prohibited on December 20, 2023.

The manufacture and import for sale in Canada of ring carriers will become prohibited on June 20, 2023, with the sale of these items becoming prohibited on June 20, 2024.

The sale of flexible straws that come packaged with beverage containers will also be prohibited as of June 20, 2024.

The manufacture and import of all of these items for the purpose of export will become prohibited as of December 20, 2025.

Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette