Safeway is about to become the first major grocery store in Cochrane to eliminate the use of single-use plastic checkout bags.

Starting May 5, the bags will be eliminated from all Safeway store checkouts as part of a nationwide commitment to reduce unnecessary plastics in a phased plan announced by parent company Sobeys Inc. in 2019.

"Sobeys Inc. is committed to driving real, meaningful change and takes pride in taking positive action towards plastic reduction because it’s the right thing to do for our planet and the future," says Zakiah Lalani, Sobeys external communications specialist.

Bags for both produce and meat will continue to be available, says Lalani, but customers are being encouraged to seek out reusable options and use these bags thoughtfully.

"Our goal is to continue finding more sustainable solutions to remove unnecessary plastic in our stores."

The move follows the elimination of the checkout bags from its Sobeys banner stores in January 2020, followed by all Atlantic store banners and IGA Quebec in October 2020, and FreshCo banner stores this past March.

Headquartered in Stellarton, Nova Scotia, Sobeys owns or franchises more than 1,500 stores across Canada under retail banners that include Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Foodland, FreshCo, Thrifty Foods, Farm Boy, and Lawton's Drug Stores as well as more than 350 retail fuel locations.