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Paper ? Plastic? neither! says the SAQ

Posted by Jeff / January 10, 2009

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So have you been to an SAQ lately? I ventured to one last night to pick up a few bottles of red wine for a dinner party. I had the cashier explain to me that there is no longer paper, plastic bags... only re-usable bags sold to you for the convenience of .75 cents or 4$ based on the size. I was intrigued as so many thoughts and questions were running through my head. I paid, thank him for the info and took no bag. So here's my devils advocate in thinking this one through. I do believe it's a step towards being environmentally aware, but is it really a step forward in environmental change? I think not. The bag change was effective Jan. 1, as their way of doing their part to help the environment. So my first question is where are all the leftover bags? did the SAQ really dwindle down the stock so perfectly that on Jan 1 they were clean and ready to go or did they throw them out? One could argue it's a great way for the SAQ to save money. Now not having the extra cost of bags, and in fact charging the consumer to pay for it. These bags are usually produced in ASIA, and bought in large qtys to drive the cost per bag down sometime as low as 4 cents a bag. Now its been reported that the proceeds will go toward the SAQ's environmental projects, including a green roof at the board's central distribution centre. what does this really mean?

So any retailer out there looking to get out of a cost, go "enviro", make your consumer pay for it and call it a green project. Is this a bar we want to set? SAQ makes profits, why don't they really show us their dedication and do it themselves. I guess its SAQ's way of helping me be an environmental consciousness consumer. Whats wrong with Paper bags? paper is a renewable resource, and we've come to a point in human society to do a better job in making and producing paper with way less toll on the environment. Is the re-usable bag made by hand and all natural fabrics? or in some large factory no doubt creating pollution somehow with machines, and unnatural chemicals. ? Seriously what is wrong with straight up recycled paper? it would encourage us to waste so much less in so many other areas! instead of only talking about bags. Why not the marketing signs, the fliers they send out, the catalogs they make, the receipt rolls.. why is moving those to recycled paper not part of the green project? instead we would rather produce another tangible item to show off, print a logo on, and feel good about the trendy environment. Why not recycle all the glass? I'm tired of these attempts to cash in on environment. I'm game for awareness of environment, and happy to see they are indeed aware. Yet don't tell me the bag change is a great thing, especially if your asking me to pay for it. BYOB will have a new meaning: bring your own bag.That's my devils advocate on that subject.

Discussion

32 Comments

seelola / January 10, 2009 at 07:16 pm
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Actually, people had to pay .25 cents for the regular plastic bags before January 1st.

I think most people have a stack of reusable bags at home anyways, so I'm sure most people will just take one of those to the store instead of buying a bag when they're there.
CUguy / January 11, 2009 at 04:44 am
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to me it's like you said. it's a business getting off a cost, and calling it green. what happens when these stacks of bags we all have become old? we throw them out right? what will SAQ charge us with next? the recycling of bottles? why is it always the consumer that pays. Where's their commitment.
bawege / January 11, 2009 at 01:40 pm
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the SAQ is the biggest mafia in Quebec. A mafia controlled by a government that can do whatever whenever they want to.



Kirsten / January 12, 2009 at 03:04 pm
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Well, I'm with you on the more recycled paper front. Kimberly-Clark (the makers of Kleenex) cut down an area of boreal forest the size of PEI every year to make toilet paper. I think it's criminal to cut down old growth forest to make something that can't be recycled, and that whether it be toilet paper or ticker tape for the register, low-grade paper should ALL be made from recycled sources.

That being said, I think that we need to move to a point in this society where it becomes habitual to bring your own bag to the store. It is true that many of us have numerous reusable bags at home, and often forget them there when we leave to shop. That being said, being forced to fork over a reasonable amount of cash for a bag is the single best way I can think of to get people to remember to bring one from home.

You are right that they are probably just doing it to save money, but so what? NO corporation on earth is going to do ANYTHING to save the environment unless they see a profit in it for themselves. It's the sick, twisted truth. And on that note, most people don't really give a damn about saving the environment either. They say they do, but then neglect to take even the smallest baby steps like using a reusable bag or a travel mug for coffee. It's only when we have to pay more to continue our lazy, wasteful ways that anyone is likely to change.

Okay, that's my devil's advocate to your devil's advocate.
Kirsten / January 12, 2009 at 03:11 pm
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Well, I'm with you on the more recycled paper front. Kimberly-Clark (the makers of Kleenex) cut down an area of boreal forest the size of PEI every year to make toilet paper. I think it's criminal to cut down old growth forest to make something that can't be recycled, and that whether it be toilet paper or ticker tape for the register, low-grade paper should ALL be made from recycled sources.

That being said, I think that we need to move to a point in this society where it becomes habitual to bring your own bag to the store. It is true that many of us have numerous reusable bags at home, and often forget them there when we leave to shop. That being said, being forced to fork over a reasonable amount of cash for a bag is the single best way I can think of to get people to remember to bring one from home.

You are right that they are probably just doing it to save money, but so what? NO corporation on earth is going to do ANYTHING to save the environment unless they see a profit in it for themselves. It's the sick, twisted truth. And on that note, most people don't really give a damn about saving the environment either. They say they do, but then neglect to take even the smallest baby steps like using a reusable bag or a travel mug for coffee. It's only when we have to pay more to continue our lazy, wasteful ways that anyone is likely to change.

Okay, that's my devil's advocate to your devil's advocate.
Olman Feelyus / January 12, 2009 at 04:20 pm
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The SAQ announced their intention to stop giving away bags a year ago and they did a good job of communicating it, giving consumers plenty of time to prepare and giving themselves time to use up all of their stock.
AA / January 15, 2009 at 01:37 am
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"NO corporation on earth is going to do ANYTHING to save the environment" is an old way of thinking. Our world is dying, and even big businesses are starting to see it. It should not be only when we have to pay more to continue our lazy, wasteful ways that anyone is likely to change. It should be prompted with facts and what's right, even it costs Money.

http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/nov2008/2008-11-19-091.asp
Martin Langlois / January 18, 2009 at 12:04 am
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hi, i do work for the SAQ. To answer your questions : The leftover bags are being shipped back to the mothership to be recycled here in quebec. And by doing this it saves about 3 millions $ a year. But the SAQ now takes that amount and give it to durable developpment groups in the province.

:-)
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