Vancouver grocer using joke bags to shame customers off plastics
East West Market in trying to "shame" customers off plastics by handing them groceries in joke bags.
CTV News Vancouver
Published Thursday, June 13, 2019 10:19AM PDT
Last Updated Friday, June 14, 2019 2:03PM PDT
Grocery shoppers at one East Vancouver market are walking home with bags reading "Wart Ointment Wholesale" and other designs as the owner experiments with shaming people off plastics.
Though most customers bring reusable bags to East West Market, the ones who don't are being handed plastic ones marked with fake logos like "Into the Weird Adult Video Emporium" and "The Colon Care Co-op."
Owner David Lee Kwen said it's all part of an ongoing push to get people off single-use plastics.
“We wanted to create a conversation and I think that was accomplished,” Kwen told CTVNews.ca. “It’s actually a year-long project. We’ve been trying to get usage down.”
The campaign has certainly drawn attention on social media. Most of the response has been supportive, though some suggested the bags are so funny they're tempted to leave their reusable bags at home just to get one.
Others criticized some of the designs for "shaming" people with colon issues, and a few have pointed to all the other plastics used in most supermarket.
Kwen acknowledged plastics are a big part of the industry, but said they wouldn't have anything to sell if they avoided plastic packaging altogether.
“Of course there’s plastic everywhere. What we’re trying to do is tackle one problem at a time," he said.
In a social media video alerting customers to the new bags, East West Market cites the estimated 1 million plastic bags that are used every minute around the globe.
According to Plastic Oceans Foundation Canada, Canadians alone use nearly 3 billion plastic bags a year, which works out to about 200 per person.
A number of cities have already banned plastic shopping bags, including Victoria, while Vancouver allows shops to charge an environmental fee to customers who don't bring their own bags.
With files from CTVNews.ca's Solarino Ho