Edmonton grocer embracing nationwide ban on single-use plastics

By the end of the year, you’ll want to remember to take that reusable bag to the grocery store.

An Edmonton grocer has a message for the rest of Canada: it’s about time.

Michael Malmanovich of Earth’s General Store on 82 Avenue in Strathcona ditched single-use plastics a few years ago.

He’s happy the rest of the country is catching up.

“We have been programmed since the ‘50s to show up to the store with your car keys and your wallet, and everything will be taken care of,” said Malmanovich. “There will be a bag boy to carry it out to the car, put it in your trunk for you.”

Canadians will need to find alternatives for grocery bags – and plastic straws – by the end of the year, as the federal government puts the final motions in place to ban some single-use plastics.

Malmanovich says society is finally starting to think differently about how they shop for food.

Earth’s General Store made the move to ditch single-use plastics in 2019. Malmanovich is happy the government will mandate the same across the country.

He says it’s not just the bags that are wreaking havoc on the environment, but the shipping to get them there.

“We as citizens haven’t taken the responsibility to step up and do it, so the government has to step in and say ‘hey, we’re going to do this,’” he said. “The same thing they did with helmets on motorcycles, the same thing they did with seatbelts.”

The federal government will ban Canadian companies from importing or making single-use plastics by the end of this year.

A ban on selling single-use plastics comes next year. A ban on importing single-use plastics in Canada starts in 2025.

The City of Edmonton is making its own moves to ban the use of single-use plastics. The city’s data shows Edmontonians throw out 1.2 million single-use plastic items per day.

The city’s bylaw would include money to help businesses adapt, says Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi.

Reducing waste matters to Edmontonians, says Sohi.

“While doing the campaign, we heard from a lot of people, ‘what is the use of having single-use items that end up in landfills or end up in the river?’”

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