METRO to charge five cents per shopping bag in its Ontario and Quebec stores starting June 1

The Company also creates Green Apple School Program in time for back-to-school season

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

TORONTO, Ontario, Canada, May 31, 2009 РBeginning on the 1st of June 2009, all Metro stores across Ontario and Quebec (Metro, A&P, Loeb, Metro Plus, Super C and March̩ Richelieu) will begin charging five cents for each plastic and paper shopping bag distributed to consumers.

This new environmentally friendly measure will help the company reach its goal of reducing the use of these bags in its stores by 50 per cent by the end of 2010. In addition, the company is creating the Green Apple School Program to encourage students in Ontario and Quebec to develop projects to promote a healthier environment, in time for back to school next fall.

"The Green Apple School Program is aimed at helping schools take concrete action for the environment and community wellness," says Selena Fiacco, Director, Communications, Metro Ontario Inc. "We will be making $2 million available to elementary and secondary schools in Ontario and Quebec - $1 million in each province. Projects can be submitted beginning September 2009.

"Our customers tell us in surveys that the charge of five cents per bag is one of the most effective ways to reduce the use of single-use bags in favour of reusable bags," Fiacco continues. "Our research also shows that forgetfulness is the main obstacle for consumers where single-use bags are concerned, and that an incentive, such as the five-cent charge, will have tangible, positive effects in the medium term."


The sale of bags and the creation of the Green Apple School Program are the latest of many environmental initiatives undertaken by Metro, including the 2006 launch of the first reusable shopping bags, which now are used by 20 per cent of its customers.

Metro addressed air pollution by setting speed limits for all its delivery vehicles in 2006 and developed "Leave it Greener", an employee communications program, to promote the principles and values of environmentally responsible behaviour in 2007.

Metro will roll out a communications campaign featuring in-store signage, advertisements in flyers and a website dedicated to the Green Apple School Program.

With annual sales of nearly $11 billion and over 65,000 employees, Metro Inc. is a leader in the food and pharmaceutical sectors in Quebec and Ontario, where it operates a network of close to 600 food stores under several banners including Metro, Metro Plus, A&P, Loeb, Super C and Food Basics, as well as over 250 pharmacies under the Brunet, Clini Plus, The Pharmacy and Drug Basics banners.

This program by this Canadian store chain can and must but be commended.

Maybe some stores in Britain and other European Union countries, as well and especially stores in the USA, could take a leaf out of METRO's book and do the same, that is to say, charge a fee for plastic and even paper carrier bags. For only when people feel it financially will they, finally, remember to bring their own bags.

Many stores in places such as the UK still, routinely, put items into plastic bags whether you ask for one or not. It is a rather silly affair when, like myself, you carry your own bags with you so as to not having to use such plastic carriers.

© 2009