Blog PostCommunity OutreachEnvironmentSay goodbye to plastic bags!

September 17, 2021

As a part of our waste reduction efforts, we will be discontinuing the use of plastic shopping bags in-store. As of October 1, 2021, depending on supply, we are asking our customers to please bring their own bags or to use recycled cardboard boxes that will be available to you. 

Making the shopping experience more enjoyable, accommodating and comfortable for all has always been a cornerstone of how we hope to run our store. With that, we understand that discontinuing the use of plastic bags might feel inconvenient, especially at first. Old habits die hard! But given the current climate crisis that we find ourselves in and the need for immediate action, we think it is essential to prioritize waste reduction where we can, even when it feels disruptive at times. 

As a part of our efforts, we also want to avoid “greenwashing,” which is the process of conveying misleading information about a company’s policies in an attempt to make them sound more environmentally friendly. So, after much thought on how we can smoothly transition to being bagless, we have decided not to provide paper or biodegradable bags as an alternative option.

We don’t think there is currently a single-use option on the market that is sufficiently sustainable. As plastic bags have extremely low durability when met with various liquids, weights and shapes, they are easily ripped and warped. Because of this, they tend to only be used once or twice before being recycled or thrown in the garbage. Not to mention, they require a heap of energy to transport due to their weight and more water to produce than most other bags on the market. 

We believe that biodegradable and compostable bags, too, are a form of greenwashing. Although they have grown in popularity, as it stands, the City of Toronto does not have the composting facilities to break down ‘eco’ or ‘bio’ plastic bags and has no current plans to update the infrastructure. In fact, it is against City By-Law (No 802-2012) to provide these bags in a retail setting. We will continue to monitor the situation as bio-plastics could be a more sustainable alternative in the future. 

We hope that the transition will be smooth, but we know that there will undoubtedly be some growing pains. For example, what if you forget your bags? Should you forget them, we hope that you can take advantage of our range of sturdy recycled cardboard boxes; otherwise, we will also be offering reusable bags for purchase. 

You know that saying, “the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the second best time is now”? Given the situation we have found ourselves in and the fact we can’t go back in time to change our habits, we believe that the time for action is now. If you have any additional questions or concerns, we invite you to share them with us at info[at]thesweetpotato.ca. Thank you so much for understanding!