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Canadian Supermarket’s ‘Salacious’ Effort At Cutting Down Plastic Bag Use Goes Viral

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The use of plastic bags has transformed from modern-convenience into an environmental nightmare. One Vancouver supermarket had a bright idea to reduce customer’s plastic bag use. Shoppers desiring plastic had to carry home their groceries in bags with questionable slogans on the front. Anyone who felt a little odd or embarrassed carrying grocery bags with “Dr. Towes’ Wart Ointment Wholesale,” or “Into the Weird Adult Video Emporium” had good reason to ditch plastic bags. The Internet went crazy over this grocery store’s bold move for the environment. Hopefully, more shoppers took the hint and found the stunt more hilarious than heinous.

Bold Will Hold

Some people will stop at nothing to reduce the demand for plastic consumption. At East West Market, an independent grocery store in Vancouver, a cheeky solution was hatched. The owner and staff figured if customers were giving single-use bags with rude or mortifying messages, they’d chose reusable bags next time. In tiny print at the bottom of the cleverly redesigned bags, a message reads, “Avoid the shame. Bring a reusable bag.”

East West Market store owner, David Kwen, figured his bold move would help raise awareness about plastic pollution. Instead of shoppers leaving beet-faced red, or hiding their face in shame, the gimmick was to encourage customers not to forget their reusable bag. At East West Market, customers get charged a fee of five cents for each plastic bag they use. The humorous stunt proved beneficial for the environment and the East West Market.

Shaming Shoppers Backfire

Instead of feeling the sting of shame and embarrassment, the bags sold at East West Market went viral. People around the globe clamored for an eco-friendly version, and customers flocked to the store to pay for a plastic bag. Twitter user amyalkon responded, “Hillarious. I want everyone.” Another user, burgerhewrote, chimed in, “Do they realise some people will probably end up using more plastic bags so they can ‘collect ’em all? (Yes, I am talking about me.)

David Kwen even admitted to Global News that customers were purchasing the bags as novelty items to show off to friends. Eventually, East West Market decided they would produce eco-friendly reusable tote bags for customers with tongue-in-cheek logos. Kwen’s shopping bag stunt didn’t go as planned, but it did get people talking and thinking about sustainability. Canada does have an issue with recycling plastic, as under 10% of plastic consumed gets recycled. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced there would be a ban on single-use plastics starting in 2021.

Conversation For Conservation

Using humor is a great way to break the silence on single-use plastics, protecting the environment, and conservation efforts. Kwen stated, “If you talk to people in a nice, humorous way, I think they listen.” Giving customers attention-grabbing shopping bags with racy or mildly rude logos was a fantastic effort to get the public thinking. The novelty effect may have lead to more sales of plastic bags, but the Internet took the hint. Thankfully, because the desire to make ecologically sound decisions is growing, customers clamored for reusable tote bags.

On Instagram, the account for East West Market received over 800 likes and 168 comments. The cleverly designed bags were meant to encourage customers to think about their lifestyle choices. Plastic pollution has been choking waterways and beaches worldwide. The European Union has been working toward zero-waste, reducing plastic usage, and enacting sustainable practices. Canada and other nations are seeking to follow suit, as plastic is a problem that can no longer be ignored. So here’s a toast to the environment. There is no shame carrying a bag that says, “The Colon Care Co-Op” as a small step to make the world a better place.

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