The writing is on the wall for plastic bags, but what happens when they’re gone is still a question on many merchant’s minds.
One organization that is bracing for the change is the Matthew 25 Windsor and District Food Bank, which serves approximately 1,300 families in the Windsor and West Hants areas.
They have relied on plastic bags and cardboard boxes for giving out their items for decades, but it’s becoming harder for them to keep them in stock.
The Town of Windsor and Municipality of West Hants haven’t banned plastic shopping bags yet, but other jurisdictions, like the Halifax Regional Municipality — the largest city in the province — is planning to phase them out this year.
In an effort to lighten the burden on the food bank, Windsor Mayor Anna Allen has set up a reusable bag drop-off at the Hants County War Memorial Community Centre, where folks who have an excess number of reusable bags can donate them for the food bank.
Once given to the foodbank, the bags will serve as “boomerang bags,” the mayor says — meaning they’ll hopefully be used and reused by clients.
“I was at the food bank and had a tour and saw that they were very well organized and do a great job, and they serve hundreds every month,” Allen said. “I realized that they use plastic bags and they find it very hard to keep them.”
Cindy Loane, coordinator of the Matthew 25 food bank, said the program will be a huge boost for their organization.
“We have quite a challenge trying to collect the plastic bags because people aren’t using them that much anymore,” Loane said.
“We need them to do up the orders for the clients,” she said.
“This new program will be wonderful for us, because we can give these (reusable bags) to our clients and hopefully they’ll return them, and this will hopefully mean they’ll always have them to use,” she said. “It’ll likely be more than one bag per person, so the more we get, the better.”
Loane said other food banks across the province would likely have similar worries.
The food bank used to get plastic bags from grocery stores via donation bins, but those are no longer offered, she said.
“This program certainly took a load off of me; now we won’t have to worry about planning on getting new bags ourselves on top of everything else,” she said. “We’ll be able to meet the needs of our clients.”
In recent years, the food bank relocated to 10 Sanford Dr. in the West Hants Industrial Park.
Food donations can also be left at Sobeys and Atlantic Super Store, which are picked up daily.