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January 21, 2008

Whole Foods Chain to Stop Use of Plastic Bags

New York Times 01.23.08Whole_foods

The Whole Foods Market chain announced that it would stop offering plastic grocery bags, giving customers instead a choice between recycled paper or reusable bags. Test runs in San Francisco, Austin, TX, and Toronto went well enough that Whole Foods executives felt confident broadening the plastic bag ban to all its stores. It will take effect by April 22, Earth Day.

Our Take: Are bans the right incentive to reduce consumption of plastic bags? What do you think?

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The ban of plastic grocery bags is a no brainer! If it is inconvenient, tough it out & grow up.
It is also time that we start with plastic beverage bottles. When I grew up we returned glass bottles for a nickel. It is time the price of a returnable bottle went up to a quarter. Perhaps that would be enough incentive for people to to return them!

I think it's a great idea. It's a start anyway.
The problem I find however is even when I use my cotton bags, I never seem to have enough AND when you ask these kids behind the counters to use your bag instead of theirs, first they act as if you just unraveled the entire universe and then they act as if they've never sacked before. Or they will grab an item and ask "you want this in there to? ANd this? Where would you like this?"
Perhaps we should also look into training these nice workers in how to sack properly(first of all, because that in itself can be wasteful it not done right) and then educate them on the greatfulness of totes instead of plastics.
That's just me however.

I lived in Germany about 15 years ago, and they never offered any bag at a grocery store. either bring your own bag or... they would stack the boxes that food came in up front and you could use them.
What's crazy is that this was 15 years ago! only now, is wholefoods getting green. We are so far behind Europe, and this is just one way.
Keep it green, one step at a time.

I think it's great that Whole Foods is going to ban plastic bags. However, I do like to reuse some plastic bags from other stores that have no ban for my small wastebaskets in my bedroom or bathroom so I don't have to buy new plastic wastepaper bags. Of couse, another alternative to reusing old plastic grocery bags is buying 100% recycled garbage bags and you're still doing Mother Earth a favor. I would like to see other chain grocery or discount stores encourage people to bring in reusable bags by giving a 5-10 cent per bag credit like Whole Foods does.

This is way overdue. I lived in Holland and agree with the poster from Germany. If you didn't bring your own bag, you could always buy one for 16 euro cents. Or use those boxes. Also, the Dutch seemed to try to outdo each other with the kinds of bags they would bring -- from elegant wicker baskets to string bags to anything that would fit on the back of a bicycle. It's time the US caught up to the rest of the world, where recycling is mandated for citizens AND corporations.

Yes, by all means, a ban on plastic (and paper) bags is the way to go. We are living an extremely unsustainable lifestyle. You consider the devastating factors of climate change, peak oil - and many other diminishing resources such as water, and then throw in global over population, and you see that we must dramatically and immediately change the way we live and do business.

It's not that the alternatives are such an imposition, (in fact much of the time new ways are indeed easier and make us happier) but rather we are simply in the rut of doing things the way we have always done them. ....Well, it's time for all of us to wake up, analyze our lives, and make productive changes that support life!

It's about time! Growing up in Sweden where you either bring your own bags or you get to pay a high fee for a paper or plastic bag. Most people bring their own.
The US is so far behind Europe when it comes to the environment... Can't wait for a change.

People lived and shopped for a long time before plastic bags and containers were invented. BAGS are still available.... they just have to be made from something else.

I agree with the post suggesting better training for the bag artists. Recently, one put one small item (a tomato) in my big reusable tote..then proceeded to fill more plastic bags with the remaining order. I often take it upon myself to bag my own groceries. Some people can't really think outside of the "bag."

Actually, if I don't have a cloth bag with me, I much prefer plastic to paper. I can reuse the plastic as a trash bag, but paper is much less easily reused. I probably take one plastic bag for every 10 times I use my cloth bag, and I always reuse the plastic bags for garbage, so I figure I'm still coming out ahead. How about a one-bag-per-person rule instead of a ban?

My family has just started using reusable bags and so far our experience has been great! WalMart, Target, grocery stores - we haven't had any problems.

I think that Whole Foods banning plastic bags makes sense because their target audience is not quite mainstream anyway. It could be the nudge some people need to get with the program and get reusable bags. WalMart, by comparison, would have a lot more problems with a plastic bag ban right now.

The good news is that I think these companies all have an incentive to encourage reuable bags (otherwise it would be a huge hurdle to sell them to the masses). Obviously giving away fewer plastic bags cuts their costs. And they can put the cost on us consumers by actually selling us the resuable bags. I think we're going to see a fairly radical change in the next couple of years, and hopefully plastic bags will very quickly stop being the standard.

I believe the ban will force people to bring there own bag that's what we need. Also Shop Rite gives 5 cents off for every reusable bag you use where I live anyway.. Finally it seems like people are waking up to the fact that we have a plastic addiction. Thanks to all who broke the plastic habit for the future generation.

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