To encourage sustainability, customers who forget reusable bags at the East West Market in Vancouver must use awkward plastic bags instead

Nearly 2 million plastic bags are used worldwide every minute. Only about 1% of those bags are ever recycled. The rest end up sitting in landfills or floating in the ocean, piling up day after day. It's a huge problem with no easy answers, but one Vancouver grocery store is fighting back. East West Market is encouraging its customers to bring reusable bags by forcing those who forget them to use a series of lighthearted, yet embarrassing plastic bags.


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The campaign, which began earlier this month, consists of three distinct designs printed on the bags: “Dr. Toews’ Wart Ointment Wholesale,” “Into the Weird Adult Video Emporium” and “The Colon Care Co-op.” Owner David Lee Kwen printed only 1,000 of the limited-run bags. East West already charges 5 cents per bag, a separate sustainability strategy that debuted last September.

“We wanted to give them something humorous, but also something that made them think at the same time,” Kwen told the Guardian. “Some of the customers want to collect them because they love the idea of it.”

East West Market

Lead image: East West Market