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No more plastic bags in Calgary Co-op stores as of January 2020

A compostable Calgary Co-op grocery bag is shown in this handout photo. .
A compostable Calgary Co-op grocery bag is shown in this handout photo. . Calgary Co-operative Association Limited

Calgary Co-op grocery stores will no longer offer plastic shopping bags as of Jan. 1, 2020.

Calgary Co-operative Association Limited announced the change on Thursday, saying it comes amid increasing concerns over the amount of plastic used in retail and feedback from Co-op members

Instead, they will offer shoppers 100 per cent compostable bags at a fee of 10 cents per bag.

READ MORE: Calgary Co-op changing food suppliers to Save-On-Foods; 200 jobs will be ‘directly impacted’

The green compostable bags are already available at Co-op stores – they were introduced on Earth Day (April 22) 2018.

Calgary Co-op CEO Ken Keelor said since the introduction of the compostable bags, they’ve seen a “steady decrease” in the number of plastic bags they sell, which cost five cents each.

“Our members are sending a clear message about their use of plastic and their desire to see it reduced at our stores,” Keelor said.

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Calgary Co-op had already removed the grey or white plastic shopping bags from their liquor stores and gas bars earlier this year.

READ MORE: It’s Alberta beef only at Calgary Co-op stores

Shoppers will also have the option of bringing in their own reusable bags. For each reusable bag used by members, Co-op said they will donate three cents to the Calgary Co-op’s Community Foundation.

Keelor said Calgary Co-op will continue to further reduce the use of plastic in stores by working with partners and suppliers to research new packaging options for their products.

The organization is one of the largest retail co-operatives in North America, with locations in Calgary, Airdrie, Cochrane, High River, Okotoks and Strathmore.

In total, the Co-op encompasses over 400,000 members and staffs 3,700 employees.