Walmart, Sobeys, and Metro stores in Ottawa will carry the reusable containers starting at the end of April, and shoppers will be able to select food items in the containers and return them to designated locations inside and outside of the stores.
The grocery stores will choose what types of containers will be used and what products will go in them.
“We…want to prove that this doesn’t cost more for the grocers or the consumers, but in fact, actually cost less because we’ll be eliminating avoiding the need to purchase single-use plastic containers,” said Jo-Anne St. Godard, executive director of Circular
Innovation Council, which is running the project with support from Environment and Climate Change Canada.
The grocery stores will share the containers and be responsible for cleaning and transporting them.
The hope is other retailers, like restaurants, will gravitate to using reusable containers. The pilot is expected to run through March 2025.
In the U.S., Giant Food began selling an assortment of products with reusable packaging at 10 stores in the Washington, D.C., area back in October of 2022.
Customers can shop a selection of more than 20 products that come in refillable glass or metal containers which are placed in branded displays at the stores. However, a third-party company, Loop, provides the containers and takes care of them after use unlike the Canadian pilot, which leaves those tasks in the hands of grocers.