When it comes to answering that modern moral query at the checkout, “Do you need a bag?” the retailers that first pushed for sustainability in the form of plastic bag fees are again turning to convenience, leaning on the motto that the customer is always right.
Ongoing customer complaints are essentially convincing major Canadian retailers like Indigo Books & Music, Home Depot and Loblaws to change strategies mid-stream, dropping the standard five-cents per bag fee at the checkout.
Indigo has been phasing out the bag fee for two years, after it began in June 2010. While it still sells reusable bags, the company is now offering customers paper and plastic bags for free again. It had used a portion of the proceeds from the bag tax to support World Wildlife Fund Canada and its conservation initiatives such as protecting the Mackenzie River Basin.
Home Depot has taken a similar course.
Loblaws, however, is changing gears gradually. Where it once had eight stores with bag fees, that number has now dropped to six.