The Government of British Columbia has selected Richmond-based Bulldog Bag Ltd. to provide paper bags to all 197 government-owned and operated BC Liquor Stores as part of a commitment to the environment and sustainable business practices.
The Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) currently distributes 22 million plastic bags per year to BC Liquor Stores throughout the province. As there will be a charge per paper bag, the move is intended to encourage consumers to shop using their own reusable bags. LDB will give away one free reusable bag per customer for a limited time, while supplies last.
More than 40% of plastic products are used only once. Single-use plastic bans have been advocated for in different forms in different jurisdictions to address the growing problem of plastic pollution.
“Our government is committed to protecting B.C.’s environment, both today and for future generations,” said David Eby, Attorney General and Minister responsible for the LDB. “Too often, single-use plastics end up polluting our oceans, waterways, parks and forests. At a minimum, the action taken today will mean that there will be 22 million fewer plastic bags in the landfill.”
Bulldog Bag Ltd. was selected to manufacture and supply the paper bags, which have the strength to withstand a load of 7.5 kilograms — approximately equivalent to six bottles of wine or a six-pack of beer and two bottles of wine.
The move to paper bags will begin in November 2019, with locations on Vancouver Island making the switch on Nov. 25. Stores in Metro Vancouver aim to make the transition on Feb. 3, 2020, with the rest of the province converting by March 9, 2020. The new paper bags will contain a minimum of 40% post-consumer recycled content and are 100% recyclable and compostable.
Malcolm Brodie, mayor, City of Richmond —
“The City of Richmond is a leader in sustainability and proud to have a local business, Bulldog Bag Ltd., providing the paper bags that will be used provincewide by BC Liquor Stores. This effort to switch to paper from plastic is a big step toward protecting the environment and fits in well with our efforts through the National Zero Waste Council to advance waste prevention.”
Lilly Woodbury, regional co-ordinator, Surfrider Canada —
“Today marks a welcomed event in what we hope to be a series of ongoing progressive policy changes by our government. Surfrider commends this contribution by the B.C. government of taking a developmental step to finding solutions to the larger problems around plastic waste in our communities. We look forward to supporting the government transition of enacting meaningful change to improve the regulations for policies such as increased deposits, bans on problematic single-use plastics and updated extended producer responsibility policies that include fishing gear."
- The LDB has been a leader in sustainable retailing in B.C. for more than four decades, beginning with the empty container return program still in use in BC Liquor Stores.
- Unless a municipal bylaw specifies otherwise, BC Liquor Stores will charge $0.10 per bag.