Plastics and Packaging

Sobeys Commitment

We continue to work with cross functional internal teams, and with valued community and industry partners to determine how we can best address the volume of materials that are present in our stores.

Our Approach

We have launched several initiatives that are working towards our commitment to reduce plastics. For instance:

  • Starting January 31, 2020 we will no longer offer plastic grocery bags at checkout in our Sobeys Stores
  • Across all of our banners, we introduced plastic checkout bag made with 30% less plastic, reducing the amount of plastic used by the equivalent of 33 million checkout bags
  • Launched a reusable container pilot in all of our IGA stores in Quebec
  • Diverted over 1 million kgs of plastic bags from landfills by converting them into decking, furniture, and a Sobeys parking lot through partnerships like TREX Recycling Program and LakeCity Plastics
  • Started eliminating plastic mini-cucumber trays – which were replaced with 100% recycled paper trays that are recyclable and biodegradable
  • We continue to encourage customers to use reusable bags and post signage in our parking lots and entry ways as reminders

Grocery Bags

In July 2019, Sobeys committed to removing plastic grocery bags from all Sobeys grocery stores by January, 31 2020. With this announcement we will be taking 225 million plastic grocery bags out of circulation!

This commitment aims at curbing future use of plastics in grocery stores, which is just one piece of removing all avoidable plastic in our retail stores. With our partners and suppliers we are working through a variety of initiatives to transition our stores to reduce plastics in all areas.

Some examples of what we’ve been working on:

  • A new line of reusable, mesh produce bags made from recycled water bottles available to provide another reusable bag solution, and cut down single-use plastic waste.
  • In-store plastic bag recycling programs in Atlantic Canada and Western Canada.
  • IGA stores on Montreal Island launched innovative ways to incentivize reusable bag adoption with initiatives such as:
    • Designated parking spots for customers who bring reusable bags
    • A program allowing customers to “rent” reusable bags from IGA stores for a returnable deposit
    • Promotional IGA offers on reusable bags and boxes to encourage customer use
  • Partnering with Enactus Canada on a Social Enterprise Accelerator. The program seeks to challenge young Canadians to find innovative alternatives to plastic use, work towards more sustainable operations, and drive behavioural change.

Pulp and Paper

Pulp and paper are used in a variety of private label products, including bath tissue and paper towel. However, the majority of our use of pulp and paper is in fiber-based packaging used for these products.

Sobeys has developed responsible sourcing guidelines for pulp and paper and continues to work with and support our procurement teams in making decisions that minimize our impacts. Sobeys also sources office paper certified by either the Forest Stewardship Council or the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.

Extended Producer Responsibility

We continue to enhance our sustainability by:

  • Assessing alternative materials and designs
  • Decreasing packaging weight and increasing recyclability
  • Sourcing packaging materials responsibly
  • Click here to learn more about how our Compliments 500mL and 1.5L water bottles use 100% recycles plastic through our closed loop recycling program.