Canadian Plastics Industry Association responds to Sobeys Inc.
Sobeys Inc. announced that it will remove plastic grocery bags from all Sobeys grocery stores by the end of January 2020
August 14, 2019
Canada’s plastics industry agrees that plastic and other waste in the environment is unacceptable.
Plastic delivers significant societal benefits, including energy, greenhouse gas and resource savings, and innovations that improve health care, reduce food spoilage, and improve quality of life.
The plastics value chain is committed to working with governments, brand owners, retailers and others to ensure that plastics stay in the economy but that plastic waste is kept out of the environment, and is taking action against plastic waste including the ambitious goal of 100 percent of plastics packaging being reused, recycled or recovered by 2040.
There is a role for multi-purpose, multi-use plastic grocery bags. A move away from plastic bags will accelerate climate change by significantly increasing fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions; increase by 7-fold the amount of waste that municipalities will have to manage; and force consumers to purchase thicker plastic kitchen catcher bags to manage household and pet waste.
Decisions to ban have both intended and unintended consequences that should be fully examined and publicly assessed for their validity.
Additionally, decisions that are made in the name of the environment must be based on science and fact, not emotion and misconceptions. The governments of the United Kingdom, Denmark and the Province of Quebec have recently all undertaken scientific studies – Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) – of plastic shopping bags comparing their environmental impact and global warming potential to all other bags on the market. Each of these LCA independently reached the same conclusion, namely that the conventional thin plastic bag is the best bag environmentally because it has the lowest carbon footprint and the lowest global warming potential.
The LCA further finds that alternatives to replace the thin bags are not better for the environment. Besides the fact that reusable bags are not recyclable in Canada, the LCA indicate that reusable bags have to be reused countless times to equal the environmental impact of the thin plastic shopping bag being used just once.