Liquor stores charge 10 cents for paper bags

Manitoba Liquor Mart customers will soon have to pay a fee for brown paper bags.

All stores will start charging 10 cents for a mid-size bag on February 1, as Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries attempts to eliminate waste and reduce its environmental footprint, a spokesperson said.

Large paper bags and single bottle sleeves are phased out, leaving medium bags as the only option provided by the store. The crown corporation encourages customers to use their own reusable bags when shopping at liquor stores.

Large bags will also be charged 10 cents while supplies last. The rounds will be free until they are interrupted.

Most customers said they didn’t mind the fees as they are used to retailers charging for plastic or paper bags. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

“By switching to reusable bags, we can prevent the more than eight million single-use bags used in our stores each year from entering the recycling and waste streams,” the spokesperson said. “This equates to 3,700 trees per year. Not only are we protecting our forests, but we are also reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

“This initiative aims to reduce our environmental impact by encouraging our customers to consider using reusable bags when shopping at liquor stores.”

Liquor stores sell reusable bags in a variety of sizes. The larger one is capable of carrying a pack of 15 beers and two 750 ml bottles.

Stores will keep stronger cardboard boxes on hand for large purchases and event orders.

The MBLL Liquor Distribution Center acts as a recycling center for Winnipeg liquor stores. It sends more than 500 tonnes of cardboard per year to a local recycling center.

“This initiative saves more than 8,500 mature trees per year,” the spokesperson said.

the Free press spoke to patrons of a liquor store in Portage la Prairie on Tuesday, and most said they didn’t mind the fees because they’re used to retailers asking for plastic or paper bags .

“Everyone is doing it. We’re just going to have to get used to not leaving our (reusable) bags in our car,” said Patricia Fiddler. “We should be more aware of our recycling, so I totally agree.”

“We should be more aware of our recycling, so I totally agree.” – Patricia Fiddler, client

Paper bags have been provided free with Liquor Mart purchases for decades. MBLL’s plans to charge a fee have been in the works for some time, although they were temporarily put on hold when the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020.

The company has used social media, advertising, in-store signage, and its website to educate customers. Staff were notified last week.

The fees will cover the costs of producing and purchasing the bags and is not expected to generate any net income for the state-owned company, the spokesperson said.

In 2020, the total cost of paper bags, including recycling fees, was over $ 450,000.

In 2020, the total cost of paper bags, including recycling fees, was over $ 450,000.

Winnipeg’s Green Action Center, which promotes greener living, said it would like the MBLL to donate the 10-cent fee proceeds to charities or environmental initiatives.

Colleen Ans, Living Green Program Coordinator, the organization’s Living Well, praised the fees and MBLL’s commitment to reducing waste and the consumption of energy, water and raw materials.

She hopes the change will reduce bag production and landfills.

“Similar to billing for plastic bags, a fee encourages people to stop using paper bags,” Ans said. “The paper is still a disposable item. It still creates waste and energy is needed to make the bags.”

Liquor Marts stopped giving customers single-use plastic bags in 2008.

In recent years, the movement to move away from single-use plastics has gathered momentum in Canada.

Ottawa plans to ban single-use plastic items, including bags, cutlery, straws, some take-out containers and six-pack rings, by the end of the year.

Walmart will phase out single-use plastic bags from its Canadian stores by April 30.

The company said the change would prevent the circulation of nearly 750 million plastic bags each year.

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Twitter: @chriskitching

Ethel J. Montes