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No More Flying Avocados or Rolling Peanut Butter Jars

Posted Oct 21 2008 12:13am

Thought Costco was already helping the "reduce plastic bags" cause by not giving them out in the first place? Well, now Costco is trying to eliminate the boxes that they have available for customer use. If Costco can move customers away from the boxes, it can then ask its suppliers to deliver products on pallets instead of boxes, saving tons of cardboard along the way.

To move toward this, Costco is selling huge reusable bags in a three-pack (one of which is insulated). I found them, ever so ironically, on the end of the aisle with all the disposable paper goods, but hey, progress is progress (although Costco is not yet giving customers a refund for every bag of their own they use, as Whole Foods does). For the first time ever at Costco, I had a nice, neat shopping cart when I left and I only had to move the three large bags into my car, rather than every single item individually (I hardly ever used the boxes because I couldn't wedge them into my car). No more flying avocados or rolling peanut butter jars while driving. It was a pleasure.

IKEA went one step further earlier this year when it was the first U.S. retailer to charge a nickel for every plastic bag customers use. Hey, other countries are doing this and seeing their plastic bag use drop something like 95%. I'm open to it.

The bagger at my nearby Publix supermarket, on the other hand, told me that Publix employees are trained to suggest customers use plastic bags, instead of paper, because they are so much cheaper. He said that's why the baggers say, "Is plastic okay?" rather than "Paper or plastic?" or even "What kind of bag would you like?" I'm paying attention to this! Publix also sells reusable bags, by the way, so this is a bit of a contradiction.

People continue to look at me like I'm crazy. Baggers hate my bags. I usually tell them I am happy to bag my own groceries (which I am, having worked at Waldbaum's supermarket as a cashier when I was a teenager. Cold with cold. Perishables with perishables. Non-foods all together like a little team.) (Speaking of Waldbaum's, I am still not able to look at produce without thinking of every PLU number. A lettuce will always be 888 to me!)

I found this site for reusable bags that has some nice options for a wide range of needs and costs. I know Jennifer at Vegan Lunch Box swears by bento box kits. I like the little sandwich mats. And there are tons of reusable shopping bags, and even, if you want to push your activism on this thing, a tool for plucking stray plastic bags out of trees. Okay, I'm not quite there yet, but the day is young.
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