On June 1 we’re quitting the use of plastic bags at checkout! Why? Lots of reasons.
For starters, it’s ecologically responsible, the timing is right, and it fits our mission.
Sustainability is important to us here at the Co-op – as we said, it’s part of our Mission to promote healthy choices for people and planet. Because of this, we have an employee “Green Team” that researches and makes recommendations on ways we can improve the ecological impact of our store. We actively recycle, we are always looking for better eco-friendly packaging, and we continuously work to reduce our carbon footprint. Now, we’re working on reducing our plastic use in the store. We’ve spent a lot of time researching this and considering the alternatives, and we decided to the best thing to do is start with the plastic bags at the front registers.
We also feel it’s important to get a jump on the nationwide “Ban the Bag” trend, especially here in the North Country. As you may have heard the New Hampshire legislature is currently debating just such a measure for 2020. Whether or not it passes we feel we’d be remiss not to address the issue ourselves first, whether or not we’re legally required to.
We understand that there are divergent views on this topic. Many of our customers wanted us to do this years ago, while others are perfectly happy the way things are. Change is always a challenge, but we feel as an organization that the time for this change is now. We’re learning as we go, and as always, we welcome your feedback and ideas.
Why Not Paper Bags?
- Paper bags actually produce more waste and require more chemical processing than plastic.
- Paper bags also cost significantly more than plastic bags.
Why Not Plant-Based & Compostable Bags?
- We can’t dispose of them properly – there are no local industrial composting centers in our area (we really looked!)
- Alternative plastics can contaminate plastic recycling and they are difficult to identify and separate.
- We haven’t found any that are sufficiently durable (we’re picky like that).
What can I put my groceries in?
- Buy a recycled paper bag at the register for 10¢ each.
- We’ll also have assorted re-usable bags available for sale, at wholesale cost.
- Re-use a grocery box from our awesome box stash
- Bring your own container, box, bag, or basket, and we’ll pack your purchase in that.
What about the rest of the store?
We’re getting there. We realize there are areas of opportunity in other parts of the co-op, and we are experimenting with different options in our bulk, deli, meat and produce departments. It’s important to also be mindful of food safety, so we are keeping plastic available in some areas for the time being until we find an alternative. In the meantime we decided to dedicate our efforts to one area (the registers) first, so we could sort out any issues before moving on to other parts of the store.