Single-use plastic shopping bags are rapidly becoming a thing of the past in Chemainus.
Victoria has already banned plastic bags under a bylaw that takes effect July 1 and the same thing’s well on the way to happening here voluntarily.
Most businesses no longer offer plastic bags as an option, but have paper bags for customers. Shop owners like Amy Hughes of Bound to be Different on Chemainus Road have created their own paper bags.
The Chemainus Business Improvement Association is just undergoing a new Shop Your Town campaign and people can soon purchase a reusable tote for all their shopping needs around town.
The bags will be around $1 and available at most locations in town. Beyond the Usual, Gifts ‘N’ Things, Bound to be Different, Salt Spring Island Soap, Van Isle Style, Sandpiper Gardens & Glass are on board plus there will be many more, as people are still settling their orders.
The initial order is for 2,500 bags and CBIA marketing and events manager Krystal Adams expects subsequent orders to follow.
“These totes are nice and large, with a good shopping basket,” she indicated. “These recycled bags are a good alternative to existing ones as we are told they not only wash well but the load capacity and wear and tear is quite high.”
The tote bags measure 20 inches wide by 13 inches high, with 20 inch handles and an eight inch wide gusset. They should arrive in the next two to three weeks.
“This not only supports Eco-Month and Earth Day but a larger challenge for local businesses who want to stay eco friendly,” noted Adams. “We also want to promote town pride and our hope many have phased out plastic bags and are offering an alternative either recyclable craft or plastic substitutes. Shops like Beyond the Usual are using a special substitute and asking for a small surcharge to offset the costs they are undertaking.”
Chemainus is clearly on board with protecting the environment through the diminishing use of plastic.
“We’ve been predominantly paper bags since the store first opened six years ago,” pointed out Hughes, who took over as owner of Bound to be Different three years ago.
“They always carried paper,” she said. “I just continued in their footsteps.”
Hughes always makes sure there are paper bags of all sizes available at her store.
“I print all these by hand,” she noted. “We are pro-paper.”
There is no additional charge for the bags there.
“They come with the purchase,” Hughes indicated. “A lot of people reuse them and give them as gift bags.”
Rather than hand out a seemingly plain bag, she opted for the hand-printed paper variety and made them more appealing.
“I worked with a local artist to design the lino print image which depicts our storefront,” Hughes explained.
Omdl Coastal of Cedar complemented her vision with the design.
It takes a lot of work to maintain the supply for Hughes, but she simply cranks them out at home as needed and is quite happy to do it.
“I usually do a couple of hours once a week,” she said. “It’s a labour of love.”