Loblaw prepares for roll-out of national plastic bag reduction program starting April 22, 2009



    
    Eight out of ten Canadians support Loblaws' plastic shopping bag
    reduction program
    

    BRAMPTON, ON, April 2 /CNW/ - As first announced in November 2008 and
following a successful pilot in Toronto, Loblaw Companies Limited is reminding
Canadians that on April 22, 2009, all Loblaw corporate and participating
franchise stores will charge $0.05 for plastic shopping bags. On the 20th
anniversary of PC(R) G.R.E.E.N products, this landmark national initiative is
aimed at reducing plastic shopping bag use and will support Loblaw's plan to
divert 1 billion plastic shopping bags from landfills by end of 2009.
    Whether from Quebec (84%), Ontario (82%), Atlantic Canada (81%) or
Western Canada (78%), research conducted for Loblaw by Leger Marketing in
March 2009 revealed that Canadians (81%) support Loblaw's plan to divert 1
billion plastic shopping bags from landfills by implementing a pay for plastic
shopping bag program.
    "Loblaw has invested and tested various approaches in an effort to
identify best practices in reducing plastic shopping bag use. Our research
reinforced that we should employ a combination of tactics to educate and
remind customers, but it is clear that a charge for bag strategy is the key
driver behind significantly reducing plastic shopping bag use and that a
majority of Canadians support this approach," said Craig Hutchison, Senior
Vice-President, Marketing, Loblaw Companies Limited.
    Loblaw data revealed that its stores that have been charging a nominal
fee for plastic bags distribute almost 55 per cent fewer bags per $1000 sales
than those stores that provide plastic shopping bags for free. While Loblaw
stores that provide only a rebate to reward the use of reusable bags
distributed approximately four per cent fewer plastic shopping bags. The data
revealed that a charge for bag strategy is the key driver behind significantly
reducing plastic shopping bag use. Loblaw's pilot program results further
reinforce this approach.
    Stores involved in the Company's plastic shopping bag reduction pilot
program launched on January 12, 2009, in the City of Toronto with a charge for
bag approach resulted in approximately 75 per cent fewer plastic shopping bags
distributed per $1000 sales in those stores. The pilot included "Bring it"
reminder campaign and limited time promotional offers on reusable bag
alternatives all aimed at helping customers with the transition away from
plastic shopping bags.
    "We know Torontonians want to do the right thing for the environment and
to reduce waste," said Toronto Mayor David Miller. "I'm pleased that we proved
that during Loblaw's pilot project. It is my hope and expectation that the
experience here is repeated right across the country."
    By April 3, 2009, customers in all Loblaw corporate and participating
franchise stores across the country will notice "Bring it" external and
in-store reminders signage. Additionally, in the week leading up to April 22,
Loblaw will offer limited time promotions on select reusable bag options to
ensure a variety of affordable and simple, reusable bag options are available.
    With more than 18 million sold since April 2007, the iconic PC G.R.E.E.N.
Reusable Shopping Bag, CANADA'S GREENEST SHOPPING BAG(TM) and Canada's only
closed loop bag made of 99% post consumer recycled plastic bottles will be
available alongside:
    
    - Large version of the PC G.R.E.E.N Reusable Shopping Bag. It's double
      the size of our original PC G.R.E.E.N.

    - G.R.E.E.N. Box, which can be returned for a full refund. The G.R.E.E.N.
      Box has been designed to fit store shopping carts and can hold up to
      the equivalent of 3 to 5 grocery bags.

    Starting May 11, 2009, these options will also be available:

    - PC G.R.E.E.N SHOPPING BAG TO GO(TM). It folds up into a convenient
      purse-sized pouch.

    - PC G.R.E.E.N Shopping Trolley. Strong, chic and portable, it has a base
      that folds flat for easy storage.

    - PC G.R.E.E.N Stow Away Shopping Bag on Wheels. It collapses into an
      easy to store pouch.

    - PC G.R.E.E.N Folding Basket. Great for those quick trips to the market,
      the Basket folds up easily thanks to its collapsible aluminum frame.
    

    To help support environmental and sustainability goals, Loblaw is pleased
to be working on a multi-year partnership with WWF-Canada. Loblaw is proud to
contribute partial proceeds from the charge on plastic shopping bags from
corporate stores to support WWF-Canada's conservation efforts. Details of the
partnership will be announced on April 22, 2009.
    The remainder of the proceeds will be used to cover the cost of the
Loblaw plastic shopping bag reduction program and invested back in the
business in price and customer service. Many efforts are being taken to assist
customers in this transition, from reminder signage, in-store customer
announcements, limited time promotional offers on reusable bag options and
importantly a new, larger and heavier gauge plastic shopping bag. The new bag
is now made partially from plastic waste material recovered from the
manufacturing process and the thicker larger bag makes it stronger allowing
for repeat use and more items per bag.
    "Starting in 20 days, Loblaw with the assistance of its customers,
participating franchisees and colleagues, is looking forward to taking another
step forward in protecting the environment," said Hutchison.

    WWF-Canada

    WWF-Canada is part of WWF, the world's largest conservation organization.
At WWF we advocate and promote lasting solutions to the challenge of balancing
growing human need and environmental sustainability. In collaboration with
business, government, communities and individuals we take a science-based
approach to the protection, management and restoration of environmentally
sensitive parts of our planet. Our work includes visionary projects focused on
climate change, freshwater and the health of habitat and species across Canada
and around the world. For more information about WWF-Canada visit www.wwf.ca

    About Loblaw Companies Limited

    Loblaw Companies Limited, a subsidiary of George Weston Limited, is
Canada's largest food distributor and a leading provider of drugstore, general
merchandise and financial products and services. Loblaw is one of the largest
private sector employers in Canada. With more than 1,000 corporate and
franchised stores from coast to coast, Loblaw and its franchisees employ over
139,000 full-time and part-time employees. Through its portfolio of store
formats, Loblaw is committed to providing Canadians with a wide, growing and
successful range of products and services to meet the everyday household
demands of Canadian consumers. Loblaw is known for the quality, innovation and
value of its food offering. It offers Canada's strongest control (private)
label program, including the unique President's Choice(R), no name(R) and Joe
Fresh Style(R) brands. In addition, the Company makes available to consumers
President's Choice Financial(R) services and offers the PC(R) points loyalty
program.





For further information:

For further information: images of please contact: Julija Hunter, Sr.
Director, Corporate Affairs, Loblaw Companies Limited, (905) 459-2500 ext.
6078, Julija.Hunter@loblaw.ca


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