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North West Company pushing out plastic


Northern and NorthMart shoppers are being encouraged to give plastic the brush-off. Disposable plastic grocery bags, that is.

As part of a new pilot program, 31 of the stores in Nunavut and Nunavik are promoting the use of reusable bags. The North West Company (NWC) will give each household in Nunavut and Nunavik two such bags for free. The goal is to cut down the use of 3,630,000 disposable plastic grocery bags.

To further prompt use of the reusable bags, North West is starting to charge 25 cents per plastic bag. All the proceeds will go toward eco-friendly community initiatives, including clean-up events.

Michael McMullen, executive vice-president of the Northern Canada Retail Division of NWC said in a recent release, “Day by day, bag by bag, we can really make a difference by choosing alternatives to plastic bags at our retail stores...We hope these partnerships, centered on direct engagement will create greater awareness for the environmental stewardship of Canada’s North.”

NWC is no stranger to 'go green' campaigns. In support of the Northwest Territories' Department of Environment and Natural Resources efforts to reduce plastic retail bags, the company had a related campaign in the territory last February. The company says more than 16,000 reusable shopping bags were given to its Northern and NorthMart customers; the result was a 77% reduction--equivalent to 1,098,000 plastic bags--in the Northwest Territories last year.

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