Packaging plays a vital role in food transportation, quality, shelf-life, safety and security. Our goal is to ensure that the plastics and packaging in our stores leave as little a footprint as possible. We do this by following the classic hierarchical model of REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE:
Beyond our own in-house brands and store packaging, we are and will continue to actively engage our suppliers, national brands and distributors in our supply chain to make further progress on the above goals.
Many of our customers and our teammates expressed a desire for us to use less plastic, and we agreed. On January 31st, 2020, our 255 Sobeys stores across the country said goodbye to single-use plastic bags at the checkout counter, the first national grocer to take this bold step.
The initiative removes 225 million plastic grocery bags from circulation annually – enough plastic bags to wrap around the world twice. We have also eliminated plastic grocery bags in our IGA stores on Montreal Island in Quebec. And we’re not stopping there! Over the coming years, our aim is to eliminate plastic grocery bags from all our remaining banners.
As our Sobeys stores do their part to eliminate plastic grocery bags, we asked our customers to do their part too by remembering to bring their reusable bags to our stores. We created the OurPart™ pledge for Canadians to demonstrate their commitment to reusable bags and use a little less plastic in their everyday lives. Each pledge helps us create a better future for generations to come.
Eliminating plastic grocery bags is an important first step of this journey, but it’s only one of several steps we are taking on our plastics-reduction journey. We’re also piloting new initiatives to make it easier to reuse and recycle bags, including a single-use plastic and reusable bag takeback recycling program.
Single-Use Plastic Grocery Bags:
Produce: We worked with our suppliers to eliminate hard-to-recycle plastic packaging. Examples include:
Operations and Distribution:
Innovative Solutions to Repurpose Plastic Waste:
Takeback Programs to Maximize Recycling:
Recycled Content in our Private Label Products:
Our suppliers are keen partners on our journey to reduce plastics. Here are a few examples of how our suppliers are also providing more sustainable packaging options:.. Read More
Meadow Creek, an Alberta meat supplier, had a vision for packaging their sausages in a more sustainable way. By packing them in vacuum-sealed bags rather than the customary Styrofoam tray, soaker pad and plastic wrap, Meadow Creek was able to decrease the plastic packaging weight to 6 grams from 40 grams while maintaining the same product shelf life.
Our mini-cucumber suppliers across the country switched from conventional Styrofoam to fibre trays, avoiding over 32,000 kilograms of plastic packaging in fiscal 2020. The fibre trays are ethically sourced and can be recycled or composted once used.
Lastly, Lakeside Produce piloted a bulk tomato bar in our Sobeys Urban Fresh locations in Ontario. The bulk bar allowed customers to pick the amount of tomatoes desired and were sold in paper bags. Switching from plastic clamshells to a bulk alternative avoided the use of 31,992 containers (or 500 kilograms) in fiscal 2020. Read Less