by Carly Foubert, CFICE Communications RA

Picture this: You’re at the grocery store picking up a few things for dinner and you’re waiting in line for the cashier. When it’s your turn, the cashier starts ringing in your items and asks if you need any bags. Do you? Think about it, do you really need those plastic bags? You’re just going to have to throw them out when you get home, and they will probably tear on the way home because they aren’t that strong.

Many grocery stores have started charging customers for single-use plastic bags. This green initiative is part of an effort to dissuade customers from using plastic bags and promote the use of reusable bags. Loblaw Companies Limited stopped providing complimentary plastic bags in 2009, instead charging $0.05 for each bag needed. Even this past year, the super box store, Walmart began charging customers for plastic bags.

Different cities, countries, and jurisdictions have also embarked on this initiative by banning the use of plastic bags. In 2015, England introduced the 5p (5 pence) charge in all stores and retailers. Since then, the number of single use plastic bags has dropped by 85%.Canvas shopping bag

The fact is that all our plastic waste has an extreme effect on the environment. In many cases our plastic garbage ends up in the ocean and is ingested by marine life and birds. National Geographic estimates that there is roughly 8 million tonnes of plastic that ends up in the ocean each year!

But it doesn’t have to be that way! You can do your part by not contributing to single-use plastic bags. Not only are you practicing environmental consciousness, but you’re also going to save a bit of money.

“Umm…Excuse me… I asked if you require any bags,” the cashier repeats again.

No, no you don’t. You’ve got your reusable bags. But thanks anyways.