Paper or plastic? The answer to that question will soon affect your bill. According to Nancy Lee, the Snug Cove General Store is currently giving out about 12,000 plastic bags a month. She said, "We go through four cases of 2000 of our regular bags, 2000 of the larger bags and 2000 of the small bags you find over at the produce section." From February 1, the store will charge five cents for plastic bags and 25 cents for paper bags.
Lee said, "The Snug Cove General Store would like to make a difference to reduce the impact on the environment. We encourage our customers to bring their own bags or purchaser cloth bags." The store has cloth bags for sale and Lee estimates that about half the customers already bring along bags. She said, "Cloth bags are more sturdy; they are easier to pack and easier to carry." But not all customers make the effort. "Sometimes people come in for one item, like a carton of milk or a bag of chips, and then they ask for a bag," Lee says. "And often, people require more than one bag."
Lee realizes that consumers reuse about 60 per cent of plastic bags for garbage bags, pet waste clean-up and other purposes. She added, "Unfortunately, the bags end up buried in the landfill and may take a long time to break down."
According to the Parliament of Canada website, Canadians still carry home more than 55 million plastic bags every week.Lee said, "A large Canadian retailer began charging five cents per bag and, after only a month, the retailer chain reported a 50 per cent drop in demand for plastic bags. Now the demand has dropped by 80 per cent." Lee expects that the volume of plastic bags at the General Store will also be reduced. She said that while some customers might complain about the charge, others have been asking for the change.
She said, "We will get some signs outside to remind people to bring their bags."