As Canada’s national single-use plastics ban comes into effect, many organizations have explored alternatives to meet the ban’s requirements, such as implementing the use of reusable bags. Frustrated customers of Walmart grocery deliveries have each accumulated hundreds of reusable bags, showcasing the need for companies to consider the full lifecycle of alternatives  they choose – and to consider more circular activities, such as receptacle take-back programs.

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When Walmart banned single-use plastic checkout bags in April, customer Larry Grant applauded the move — until he found himself drowning in reusable bags.

Each week, Grant orders Walmart groceries for pickup at a depot near his home in Toronto. Due to the plastic bag ban, the retailer now packs his items in reusable bags — new ones for each order.

Grant estimates he has acquired about 300 over the past six months.

“It’s a bit crazy,” he said, pointing to a large pile of blue Walmart bags stuffed in the trunk of his car. “In a month, I can be accumulating anywhere from 40 to 50.”

Single-use plastic shopping bags are on their way out in Canada. Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador have already introduced bans, and on Tuesday, the federal government will begin phasing them out nation-wide.

But the well-intentioned war on plastic bags has had an unintended consequence: As a growing number of retailers eliminate them, some shoppers are amassing piles of reusable bags — more than they could ever reuse.

Sophia Harris, CBC News, Dec 19, 2022

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