Social Impact Report: Walmart ditches plastic bags

Plus, Cogeco plans to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and Gordon Food Service creates new unit for sustainable packaging.
Walmart Canada Corp--Walmart Canada to Eliminate Single-Use Plas

Plastic bags will be out of Walmart by Earth Day

Walmart Canada has stepped up one of its key waste reduction goals by planning to eliminate plastic bags from its stores in a little more than four months.

Through a phased approach, Walmart will eliminate plastic from its 400 Canadian locations, as well as online grocery orders, by April 22, 2022, which happens to be Earth Day. Walmart plans to launch a customer awareness campaign to assist in the transition, encouraging customers to bring reusable options from home and the option to purchase reusable options in-store.

The plan accelerates the retailer’s previous goal of reducing plastic bags at check out by 50% by 2025. That target was announced in 2019 as part of Walmart Canada’s “Charter on Plastics,”  which included replacing single-use plastic straws with paper alternatives by 2020, ensure packaging for its private label products is 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable and eliminate hard-to-recycle materials, such as PVC and polystyrene, from its private label products and have at least 20% post-consumer recycled content in private brand packaging, with 100% recyclable private brand packaging by 2025.

Walmart began its plastic bag program with a 10-store pilot that began in August, which the company says delivered “overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers and associates” and diverted nearly six million plastic bags. Once fully implemented, the company says the move will eliminate more than 10 million pounds of plastic from entering circulation each year.

Cogeco gives a look at first sustainability plan

Telco Cogeco has released its first Climate Action Plan, detailing exactly how it plans to reach net zero emissions throughout its entire value chain in just under 30 years.

Earlier this year, Cogeco first announced its emissions targets, planning to reduce emissions from operations by 65% by 2030, reduce emissions from the use of its products and from employee commuting by 30% by 2030 and ensure 50% of its suppliers have their own science-based emissions reduction targets by 2025, all based on 2019 baselines.

Adding to that, the new plan has Cogeco reaching net zero emissions by 2050, achieved by electrifying its fleet and improving fuel efficiency in its non-electric vehicles; invest in renewable energy in both its own facilities and projects across Canada; engaging with suppliers to reduce their own emissions and emissions from the use of Cogeco products; and finding new, low- or no-emissions products, materials and services. The plan has been given an A rating by CDP, a body that manages the annual global rating system for corporate environmental transparency.

Gordon Food Service launches new sustainable packaging business

One of Canada’s biggest food service companies is getting into the packaging game.

Re.Source is a new range of sustainable food packaging, including cups, cutlery and to-go containers from Gordon Food Service. Described by the company as a new brand meant to “simplify sustainable,” each product is colour-coded and features decals to help a client’s customers easily understand whether the packaging is compostable, recyclable or reusable.

“Since the pandemic’s start, to-go orders have sharply increased across North America, with single-use plastic and styrofoam containers filling landfills at an accelerating rate,” says CEO Rich Wolowski. “We’re excited to offer our customers a smart solution to a critical problem and an important step toward a more sustainable future in food service.”

Known as a supplier for restaurants, hotels, catering and event venues, this only Gordon’s second non-food brand line, after the Array range of cleaning products.