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The Vancouver Sun reports that Loblaw has decided to eliminate all plastic bags from a Real Canadian Superstore location that it operates in Langford, British Columbia. According to the story, it is the “first major grocery and general merchandise retail store in B.C. to eliminate traditional plastic bags at the checkout.

“As part of the plan, each household in Langford will be mailed a complementary reusable ‘Green Bag’ and a coupon for a free ‘Green Box’ with a minimum $25 purchase. The Green Box fits into a shopping cart and holds the equivalent of three to five plastic bags worth of groceries.

“Until Dec. 8, shoppers will be offered a buy-one-get-one-free deal for the Green Bag and $1 off additional Green Boxes.”

Loblaw already has one store operating without plastic bags in Ontario, and plans yet another for Quebec.

KC's View:
The “Green Box” is an excellent idea, and a permutation we haven't seen much of here in North America. Yet. But it makes sense, and has the real possibility of catching on.

These are the kinds of moves that we’re going to see more of…though retailers have to get better about educating their front-end personnel about this stuff. I was in a supermarket yesterday and I had my dozen cloth bags with me at the checkout. At the next lane, one of the customers noticed them and asked her checkout person where she could get some. “I don't know,” the employee responded, though she didn’t sound convincing. “I think we’re sold out.” Asked by the customer whether the sore would be getting them back in, the employee said, “I don't know. I don't think so.”

Almost certainly that is incorrect information, and the entirely wrong message to be sending.