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    Canada's Provigo Banners Cut Plastic Bag Use

    SAINT-LAURENT, Que. -- The grocery banners of Provigo, Inc., based here -- Loblaws, Maxi & Cie, Maxi, Provigo, L'intermarché, Axep, and Club Entrepôt Provigo -- have joined with the Quebec Environment Foundation (QEF) to help reduce the use of plastic bags in their 456 stores throughout the province.

    SAINT-LAURENT, Que. -- The grocery banners of Provigo, Inc., based here -- Loblaws, Maxi & Cie, Maxi, Provigo, L'intermarché, Axep, and Club Entrepôt Provigo -- have joined with the Quebec Environment Foundation (QEF) to help reduce the use of plastic bags in their 456 stores throughout the province.

    Using the slogan "A helping hand for the environment," Quebec's largest grocery retailer yesterday rolled out a reusable bag and a new version of the Eco-bin, both of which will allow customers to cut down on their plastic bag usage.

    The company is no stranger to helping the environment. In the early 1990s Provigo pioneered the reduction of the use of conventional shopping bags through its RE- SAC program. Since then, most of the company's banners have been refunding five cents to customers who reuse paper bags and three cents for reusing plastic bags. The environmental program now includes the new reusable bag and the Eco-bin.

    "From waste management, site rehabilitation, and water and energy conservation, to the green products sold under the President's Choice label, we are constantly striving to contribute to sustainable development by optimizing resource use," said Daniel Tremblay, Provigo's s.v.p., procurement and agrifood affairs.

    Shoppers can now buy a reusable President's Choice bag for CAN 99 cents at all Provigo banners in the province. Made from high-density polypropylene, with 20 percent recycled material, the bag comes in either imitation birch bark or imitation kraft paper versions. The bag can hold the equivalent of three conventional plastic shopping bags and is strong enough to be reused regularly, Provigo said.

    Additionally, the latest version of the President's Choice Eco-bin is currently available at all Loblaws, Maxi & Cie, Maxi, Provigo, and Club Entrepôt Provigo stores in Quebec. According to Provigo, the new version is sturdier and equipped with handles to make it easier to use. Shoppers can place the bin, which retails for CAN $3.99, in their grocery carts, as well using it as a shopping basket when buying just a few items. The recyclable, high-density polyethylene bin also fits easily into cars. Tests have shown it can contain as much as 75 pounds of products, the company notes.

    Provigo spokeswoman Josee Bedard, told Progressive Grocer that the company used to offer an earlier version of the Eco-bin at its stores.

    The company will contribute five cents to the QEF for each reusable bag and Eco-bin sold, up to a maximum of $25,000, which will be used for projects to protect the environment.

    "With the reusable bag, the Eco-bin, and the RE-SAC program, we are offering a range of environmentally friendly solutions to our customers," said Tremblay. "We will continue to be attentive to our customers' concerns and hope that these new options will encourage them to adopt new habits that will further help the environment."

    A member of the Loblaw Group, Provigo and its franchised and affiliated merchants employ nearly 30,000 people in the Quebec.

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