Canadian Plastics

Presidents Choice introduces green PET shopping bag

In what may reflect an emerging trend for the bag and film sector, President's Choice (PC), a subsidiary of Canadia...

April 27, 2007   Canadian Plastics

In what may reflect an emerging trend for the bag and film sector, President’s Choice (PC), a subsidiary of Canadian food distributor Loblaw Companies Limited, introduced the PC GREEN Reusable Shopping Bag earlier this month. The product is being marketed as “Canada’s greenest shopping bag.”

The polyethylene terephthalate-based (PET) bag is made of 85 per cent post-consumer waste, mainly from 6 x 500 millilitre water bottles or 2 x 2 litre pop bottles. The remainder of the bag is made of polyester, which is used for improved strength and integrity. The reusable and washable bag can withstand approximately 50 trips to the store, and PC expects each bag to divert up to about 100 single-use plastic bags from landfills each year.

PC did not disclose the names of any vendors that are involved with the development and production of their new product.

“The entire bag is recyclable back into polyester, and potentially more shopping bags,” said Colin Isaacs, a Canadian environmental scientist who is a key independent advisor for the PC GREEN product line. “The product is pretty close to a closed loop.”

The municipality of Leaf Rapids, Man. was in the news recently because of its precedent-setting decision to place a ban on single-use plastic bags. The move echoes measures in several municipalities, where decision makers are considering alternatives such as compostable bags or plastic bag taxes.

Earlier this week, a Boston, Mass. area newspaper reported on a city council proposal to ban plastic bags, with almost three-fourths of the councilors co-sponsoring the move.

“The end up everywhere,” said Councilor Robert Consalvo to The Boston Globe. “They blow in trees, they’re floating in Boston Harbor . . . They’re an environmental nightmare. We need to rid our city of these plastic bags.”

Plastic industry associations and stakeholders have argued that bans are not the best way to deal with the issue of single-use plastic bags. Industry proponents say that biodegradable bags raise composting infrastructure issues, and bans take an enforcement approach against a consumer behavioural issue.

“Biodegradability has an important role in some areas such as compost bags and products that are commonly found in litter,” noted Isaacs. “But for a shopping bag, biodegradability is the wrong way to go because it’s encouraging single-use products, and we should be encouraging reusable products.”

The PC GREEN Reusable Shopping Bag will be sold at a retail value of $0.99.


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