Aldo begins eliminating single-use bags

The move aims to reduce both plastic and paper waste, eliminating roughly 10 million bags from circulation globally.

Aldo Group has begun phasing out single-use shopping bags from its Aldo and Call It Spring banners, the latest in the Montreal-based footwear retailer’s environmental initiatives.

The retailer says the move will eliminate roughly 10 million bags from rotation annually.

Aldo is encouraging customers to simply use its shoebox on its own to carry purchases home instead of placing the box inside a bag, something David Bensadoun, CEO of Aldo Group, said the company believes consumers are ready to accept. While Aldo’s shoeboxes are made from similar materials to its bags, it is made from 80% post-consumer recycled materials and features a carrying rope made from paper products, making the box fully recyclable, in addition to being reusable.

For customers making multiple purchases, or ones who simply prefer a bag, Aldo will be selling eco-totes made from recycled plastic. Profits from tote sales at Aldo will fund ocean protection projects at The Ocean Legacy Foundation and to Ocean Conservancy, while proceeds from Call It Spring’s eco-tote sales will go towards clean water and sanitation projects in Kenya through a partnership with Me to We.

While many retailers aim to reduce waste by removing single-use plastic bags, Aldo’s focus is on eliminating all single-use bags, including ones made from paper products, which also have an environmental impact due to the reduction of trees and strain placed on the recycling system. That is going to be the focus of activations announcing the bag elimination: in one of its New York stores, there will be an exhibit highlighting the impact of Aldo’s efforts by drawing comparisons to nearby Central Park and showing how many trees could be saved by eliminating bags made from paper. The store will also go completely paperless during the activation, including receipts and marketing signage.

The company has also created an online video outlining the bag elimination plan and the impact it has on the environment, which it has been pushing through its social channels.

In September, Aldo announced its attention to become fully carbon neutral, having reduced its output by 33% and making investments in wind farms to offset its remaining footprint, which it will continue to do going forward.

“Our company purpose is a journey to create a world of love, confidence and belonging,” Bensadoun said in a statement. “This purpose pushes us to help create a more sustainable future through our business operations. We continue to challenge ourselves and those in the industry to explore even more ways to advance sustainability, and we look forward to sharing other impactful initiatives in the near future.”

Last week, grocery retailer Sobeys announced plans to eliminate plastic bags by early next year, removing 225 million from circulation annually.