Vancouver supermarket uses embarrassing plastic bags to encourage recycling

Thanks for shopping at ‘The Colon Co-Op’! Canadian grocery store gives out VERY embarrassing plastic bags to its customers to encourage them to bring reusable ones instead
A Canadian supermarket has found a creative — and mortifying — way to encouraged more of its customers to bring reusable shopping bags to its store.

This month, East West Market in Vancouver debuted brand new plastic bags for for those customers who don’t bring along reusable totes. But while employees are happy to bag up groceries in these new bags, customers may not be so thrilled to carry them.

That’s because each bag bears a logo for a fake — but very embarrassing — business, like ‘The Colon Co-Op’ and ‘Into the Weird Adult Video Emporium.’

Too funny! East West Market in Vancouver, Canada has found a creative ¿ and mortifying way to encouraged more of its customers to bring reusable shopping bags to its store
Too funny! East West Market in Vancouver, Canada has found a creative — and mortifying — way to encouraged more of its customers to bring reusable shopping bags to its store

Owner David Lee Kwen made the silly bags to make people stop and think about using plastic
Bags say things like ‘Dr. Toews’ Wart Ointment Wholesale’ and ‘Into the Weird Adult Video Emporium’
Owner David Lee Kwen made the silly bags to make people stop and think about using plastic

According to a video that East West Market shared on Facebook, there are three embarrassing bags available, including one for ‘Dr. Toews’ Wart Ointment Wholesale.’

‘It’s hard to always remember a reusable bag. We redesigned our plastic bags to help you never forget again,’ the caption reads.

Owner David Lee Kwen insists that the idea wasn’t actually to embarrass customers, but to make them stop and think about their actions and how they relate to the environment.

‘So many people own reusable bags but forget to bring them,’ he told Vancouver is Awesome. ‘We want to help customers remember their reusable bags in a way that will really stick with them.’

Sense of humor: There is only a limited supply of 1,000 bags so far, and they cost five cents each
Sense of humor: There is only a limited supply of 1,000 bags so far, and they cost five cents each

Awareness: The owner admits that some people actually want to buy the silly bags, but he hopes it is making people more conscious
Awareness: The owner admits that some people actually want to buy the silly bags, but he hopes it is making people more conscious

‘We wanted to give them something humorous, but also something that made them think at the same time,’ he added to the Guardian. ‘It’s human nature not to want to be told what to do.’

He’s only had a limited run of 1,000 bags printed, and each one has a five-cent fee.

And while his funny bags have certainly made customers take notice, there has been one undesired effect.

‘Some of the customers want to collect them because they love the idea of it,’ Kwen said. ‘It’s a double-edged sword. We wanted to address an issue, but we’ve also made something popular, so it’s turned out great.

‘[But] even if you have the bag, you have to explain its origin to your friends. And then, we’ve started a conversation.’

Next, he intends to print similar funny logos on reusable bags, which Facebook commenters have shown a market for.

The move comes just as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Monday that Canada would ban single-use plastics.

‘People have had enough of seeing their parks and beaches covered with plastic,’ he said. ‘As parents we’re at a point when we take our kids to the beach and we have to search out a patch of sand that isn’t littered with straws, Styrofoam or bottles. That’s a problem, one that we have to do something about.’

Trudeau added that Canada throws away eight billion Canadian dollars’ worth of plastic material each year, according to the New York Times.

Meanwhile, in the US, New York has just joined California and Hawaii by announcing a plan to ban plastic bags.