The single-use plastic bag was a public enemy only a few weeks ago, now it’s making its a comeback.
The 35,000 bags I had in stock sold out in two hours! “Says Frédéric Lessard, owner of Emballages EB.
His factory, located in East Broughton, a small municipality, no longer produces “shopping bags”, thebags used at supermarket checkouts. Asian Competition is too fierce.
In normal times, the machine that produces these bags only work at 5% of the time, specifies Mr. Lessard. Now, “its working 3 shifts [24 hours], 5 days a week. I make 30,000 a day […] It’s a nice turnaround. Plastic had a bad press. ”
Emballages EB now suplies five IGA supermarkets in the Chaudière-Appalaches region. “They decided to stop plastic. They had bad press […] now, we sold them white, no time for logos, “said the businessman.
IGA had officially banned single-use plastic bags in all of its Quebec branches on March 19, but under current circumstances, some merchants prefer to have them.
“There are a lot of transactions. It’s a precaution as everything changes quickly, ”said spokesperson Anne-Hélène Lavoie.
The demand for single-use bag has also increased because in some shops, customers can no longer bring their reusable bags.
This is the case for Provigo and Pharmaprix “in order to avoid the packer from handling an article of which he does not know where it comes from or its condition,” said spokesperson Johanne Héroux.
These retailers have also eliminated the fees charged for plastic bags.
Metro, IGA and Costco, for their part, no longer pack the purchases of customers with reusable bags, but it is allowed to bring them, they say.
Twice as many orders
The plastic bag used by the food industry is also experiencing a spectacular leap.
“In 24 hours, consumption habits have completely changed. All food is eaten at home, breakfast, lunch, dinner, everything.
So the demand in grocery stores exploded.
It creates a lot of demand for packaging, ”says Amir Karim, president and chief executive officer of Polykar, the largest manufacturer of bags and plastic film in Quebec.
The factory in the borough of Saint-Laurent, in Montreal, produces bags for bread, frozen fruits and vegetables, carrots, iceberg lettuce.
She also makes film to protect food, like the one found around English cucumbers.
His order book is twice as full as usual, says the manager.
Customers must therefore wait for their orders a few days longer than usual. “We can’t provide …”
Since the factory is already running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ways must be found to increase production.
The president works 12-hour days to find solutions with his team.
Emballages EB, which also manufactures bags for storing food, observes the same phenomenon.
Demand jumped “by about 30%”.
On the other hand, the company observed a decline coming from the industrial sector, many factories being closed.
In short, it almost balances, calculates the owner.
On the Greenpeace Canada side, we hope that retailers will resume their good habits for the planet as soon as possible.
“In an emergency, businesses have rightly focused on how to keep their customers and employees safe.
It is clear that the supermarkets had to adapt […] But once the crisis has passed, the plastic will remain and these companies will have to find sustainable solutions “, says Agnès Le Rouzic, in charge of the Oceans & Plastics campaign at Greenpeace Canada
Published on lapresse.ca