Bringing back the paper bag at LCBO

Jun 18, 2024 | Provincial News

Premier Doug Ford was spot on bringing the paper bags back, LCBO customers say.

The LCBO stopped supplying customers with free paper bags in September 2023 to reduce its environmental impact and suggested customers bring reusable bags. Or, as an alternative, LCBO offered reusable bags, six-bottle bags for $2.95 and two-bottle bags for $1.25.

But in a surprise move this April, Ford reversed the decision to eliminate the paper bags. His order came just seven months after the company stopped offering bags.

Humber News asked LCBO customers how they feel about the bags coming back.

Prerna Das said she liked that the paper bags were brought back. “It makes shopping on the way home easier.”

“Back home (in India), the liquor stores gives us a black plastic bag. I saw the quintessential ‘brown paper bags’ only in American movies growing up. It’s kind of like a reminder of how far I’ve come,” she said.

Das said it can get annoying to pay at every store for a bag. “After I see the total amount I’m paying at checkout, why wouldn’t I expect the bag to be free?”

“In India, some places have this ‘return the bottle’ after you finish rule. Returning empty bottles would be a better step towards helping the environment. I don’t think a paper bag is doing much harm,” she said.

Denise Shaw, another LCBO customer, said she buys her liquor in bulk and the LCBO cardboard boxes are more convenient for her. “The paper bags make no difference since the cardboard boxes are free of charge.”

Environmentally, she said she is concerned as to how much of an impact this will have.

“Surely there is a lot more for us to do in terms of reducing our carbon footprint as individuals such as proper sorting and recycling, while buying one bag may not seem to make an impact. We have to think of the impact we, as a whole, will have,” she said.

LCBO customer Roger Fei said he was happy with the paper bags’ comeback.

“While I take my reusable bags for grocery shopping. I get the occasional craving and don’t like the feeling of having my beer or stronger out in the open,” he said.

With the paper bag in hand, even though people know what it is, he prefers the vagueness.

“That being said, there are far more pressing matters to be addressed in Ontario, but we here we are,” Fei said.

The Crown corporation started its search for a new supplier of paper bags two weeks after the order was passed.

The LCBO said the initiative was projected to divert 2,665 tonnes of waste from landfills and conserve more than 188,000 trees annually.