Bins! Bins! Bins!
Re-usable shopping bags suck, I’m sorry but they just suck. They’re hard to pack (constantly flopping around) and difficult to clean (most are made of a absorbent fabric which requires periodic trips to the washing machine). I don’t like paying for plastic shopping bags (nor dealing with the waste they produce) so what do I use instead? Well I use the wonderful thing known as plastic shopping bins (or boxes)! Now if you’re from Canada you’re probably familiar with the concept of the shopping bin (or greenbox as it’s commonly known). They’re sturdier than re-usable bags, easier to pack, and can be wiped clean. Thanks to Loblaws the greenbox has become a staple of most Canadians’ shopping trips. But did you know that there’s more than green out there in the greenbox world?
The PC Green Box
Probably the most iconic member of the greenbox family. Introduced all the way back in 1991 this greenbox is probably the most common shopping bin you’ll see out there. Most of the time you’ll see boxes with the newer design shown above, but whenever I go to the Superstore it’s not uncommon to see an older greenbox with the slot design (yes there’s holes in the bin like a laundry basket) or one of the purple “Bin Shoppin'” bins. These bins are made in Canada by InStore Products Inc, ever since they were introduced in 1991, and gained immense popularity in 2009 when Loblaws started charging for plastic shopping bags at all of their chains. Fun fact, if your store has the two-level Movator 5BB7 shopping carts you can actually hook the bins onto the back of the cart for easy storage.
The No Frills Bin
A new addition to the greenbox family but this time in yellow! With Loblaws re-organizing their store brands into two separate divisions (market and discount) the discount side of the company decided to drop the PC Green Box in favour of their own store branded bins (also made by InStore). Personally I really dig these bins just for the uniqueness of them. Yellow isn’t something you see much in the wild. Also, since these bins are so new you’ll most likely be the only guy out there with them 😎. This however isn’t the first time that No Frills has had their own branded bins, back in the 1990s and early 2000s No Frills used to have black baskets (similar to the iconic Knob Hill Farms ones) and then red No Frills branded bins (in the same form factor as above). Maybe Loblaws will introduce a red bin again but this time for Shoppers Drug Mart!
The Real Canadian Superstore Bin
Just like No Frills, The Real Canadian Superstore (or what I call “Superstore” for short) got their own bins with the last re-organization. These bins are blue to coincide with the colour of most Superstores, blue. They also have the slogan “The mother of all bins” printed on their side to go with Superstore’s new advertising strategy “Shop like a mother.” These bins are also made by InStore but as you will come to see the colour blue isn’t that weird in the shopping bin world.
The Walmart Bin
Now here’s something you may have not seen before, Walmart Canada’s foray into the greenbox world. These bins were introduced sometime in 2017 with Walmart’s new store design (which you can read about here). Over the past decade Walmart has focused on becoming more of a grocery store like Loblaws, offering a wide selection of food next to department store goodies. They, like Loblaws, also started charging for bags and with this came their line of bins. The light blue bin shown on the right of this image was the first iteration of the Walmart bins, later changed to a dark blue (as seen on the left hand side). Unfortunately I wasn’t able to purchase more light blue bins before they were discontinued, which is a shame since I prefer the lighter colour. These bins were also made by InStore and are basically the same as those sold by Loblaws but in a different colour (and obviously a different logo). I believe these bins have been discontinued as I haven’t seen any for sale at Walmart since at least early 2019. But who knows, if they’re anything like Loblaws we may see the bins return at a later date.
The Rona Oddity
It isn’t everyday when you see a hardware store that sells shopping bins but it seems that Rona (owned by US hardware store giant Lowe’s) begs to differ. These bins are unique in that they’re NOT made by InStore, instead they’re made by a small Ontario company called Sustain It Inc. Like InStore these bins are made in Canada but unlike InStore’s bins these are incredibly thick and resilient, mainly because they’re designed to hold bottles before being returned to the store. Of course with this increase in quality comes a higher price, to the tune of $15 a bin (versus $5 – $6 for InStore’s equivalent). However, for how good these bins are it’s worth the extra cost. They also have a nice carrying handle that makes them into a basket (versus the strap the InStore bins have).
I’m not too sure if these bins are being made anymore. The company who makes them seems to be dormant, with no change to their website since 2011 and no update on their social media since 2012. As well, the bins were covered in dust at the Rona I purchased them from which tells me that they’ve been sitting around for years. As such, if you want these bins it may be a good idea to get them now, who knows how long until they’re gone forever.
Oh and they used to be sold at The Beer Store in Ontario it seems, although I’m not so sure if this is the case anymore (I don’t drink beer, I never go in there, and the item isn’t listed on their website).
Odds and Ends
Bins are great. Hopefully I can find more examples of different kinds of bin and continue to post them here but until then, I guess, I’ll be shopping.