B.C industry brings in comprehensive plan on plastic bags

    - Target 50 per cent reduction in plastic bag use by 2013 -

    VANCOUVER, Sept. 24 /CNW/ - 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.
    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.

    About Retail Council of Canada

    Retail Council of Canada (RCC) has been the Voice of Retail in Canada
since 1963. We speak for an industry that touches the daily lives of Canadians
in every corner of the country - by providing jobs, career opportunities, and
by investing in the communities we serve.
    RCC is a not-for-profit, industry-funded association representing more
than 40,000 store fronts of all retail formats across Canada, including
department, specialty, discount, and independent stores, and online merchants.
    RCC is a strong advocate for retailing in Canada and works with all
levels of government and other stakeholders to support employment growth and
career opportunities in retail, to promote and sustain retail investments in
communities from coast-to-coast, and to enhance consumer choice and industry
competitiveness. RCC also provides its members with a full range of services
and programs including education and training, benchmarking and best
practices, networking, advocacy, and industry information.

    About the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors

    The Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors is a not-for-profit
organization committed to advancing and promoting the grocery and foodservice
distribution industry in Canada. Member sales represent $71.8 billion in
retail and $12 billion in foodservice, employ over 428,100 Canadians and
represent over 85% of all grocery (i.e. food, non-food, non alcoholic
beverages) distribution sales in Canada.

For further information:

For further information: Max Logan, B.C. Director, RCC at (604) 601-5619
or by email at mlogan@retailcouncil.org; or Allen Langdon, Vice President,
Western Region, CCGD, (604) 418-6502

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