Superstore, Pete's bag policy

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It’s official: the Atlantic Superstore on Quinpool is now a plastic-bag-free zone. The store’s the fourth location owned by Superstore’s parent company, Loblaw Companies Limited, to stop offering bags at check-outs, following in the footsteps of stores in Milton, Ontario; Langford, BC and Sherbrooke, Quebec. While it may seem like Loblaw execs are throwing darts at a map and randomly choosing which stores will go bag-free, Loblaw PR director David Primorac says careful thought goes into bag-free-store selection. What’s so special about the Quinpool store? “All the environmental initiatives that go on in Nova Scotia, such as recycling,” are “quite well known,” says Primorac. (Yay, us!) The Quinpool store was also singled out because of its proximity to Saint Mary’s and Dalhousie---young’uns tend to “embrace this type of concept,” says Primorac. To help ease the transition for customers, free cloth bags were mailed out in the Quinpool area announcing the change, and “ambassadors” are also currently on hand at the store, telling shoppers about the new rules before they head to the cash. The Quinpool store’s also offering temporary discounts on its eco-friendly bags and grocery boxes and is willing to refund any customers caught unawares and forced to buy a green box (as long as they bring said box back by March 13). So, is Loblaw planning to eventually go bag-free in all its stores? Primorac’s not sure: “We have over 1,000 locations across Canada...it’s a really big initiative to do that.” Yes, but if that happened, maybe I’d finally start remembering to bring my damn bags with me.With bags on the brain, I wanted to see how another eco-friendly, grocery-store bag-related initiative’s been going. Back in September both of the HRM’s Pete’s Frootique locations (at 1515 Dresden Row and in the Sunnyside Mall in Bedford) started charging customers five cents for each plastic bag used to bag their groceries. “We do it...to try and discourage people from buying plastic bags. Our objective is to have them bring a bag,” says Pete Luckett, owner of both stores. It’s working: “The amount of plastic bags...being used is continuing to deplete,” says Luckett. He’s got numbers to back him up---the downtown Pete’s used to go through about 25,000 bags per week; now they use around 6,000. As for whether Pete’s will ever go bag-free, Superstore-style, Luckett says: “We’d certainly like to go there. But we’ve got to do it when it feels right.” He wants the change to be gentle for customers. “When we get down to...let’s say, 1,000 per week---bingo, that will be the time.”

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