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Vancouver grocer offers plastic bags with embarrassing slogans to discourage their use



East West Market, a gourmet specialist in Vancouver, wants customers to think twice about single-use plastics.Sustainable Design


Independent food stores are known for using minimal packaging,encouraging recycling and generally promoting greener living.

But a grocer in Vancouver has gone a step further in the battle against single-use plastics, by providing bags with embarrassing slogans to discourage their use.

East West Market, a gourmet specialist which sells only local food, hopes to encourage people to bring their own reusable bags.

Customers who fail to do so will be charged five cents for a bag printed with messages such as “Into the Weird Adult Video Emporium” and “Wart Ointment Wholesale.”

The idea is to jog the memory of those whose desire to be green gets lost in the daily rush. “So many people own reusable bags but forget to bring them,” said David Lee Kwen, East West’s owner. “We want to help customers remember their reusable bags in a way that will really stick with them.”

So far the bags have “certainly generated interest,” he said. “Once you start a conversation, it will skyrocket from there, I think.”

This week Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Liberal, eco-friendly prime minister, announced plans to ban single-use plastics in 2021. That would include all grocery bags, as well as plastic cutlery and straws.

Governments globally are under growing pressure to get to grips with a deluge of plastics that cannot be recycled and end up in landfill. Consumerism is considered the main cause of such plastic use.

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