Target: Supermarket News
Goal: Encourage grocery stores to stop providing plastic bags for produce and bulk items.
Single-use plastic bags account for most litter found on roadsides in populated areas. This 60-year-old invention is outdated. It contributes to litter, pollution, and is directly related to global dependency on oil. Grocery stores need to do more to reduce use of plastic bags not only at the checkout counter, but in the produce and bulk sections as well.
Recent campaigns and policies have focused on reducing the number of one-use plastic bags at checkout lines. In England, a media-driven fight for banning plastic bags has been ongoing. In Los Angeles, single-use plastic bags are no longer available in grocery stores because of a city policy banning them. While these campaigns and many more are contributing to knowledge about waste attributed to plastic bags, those small plastic bags in the produce and bulk sections are forgotten.
Plastic bags for produce are unnecessary. Those bananas will sit just fine in a shopping basket without being bagged. Same goes for carrots, broccoli, apples, oranges, and most other produce. People should be exposed to marketing tactics that make them stop and think about how archaic the idea of produce bags are. These tactics could include a simple message that reminds them that it’s OK not to use a plastic bag, providing paper bags instead of plastic bags, asking shoppers to bring a reusable produce bag, or giving customers a credit when they opt to not use bags for their produce.
Plastic bags for bulk food is a tougher challenge, but one that many bulk buyers would meet. Grocery stores should encourage people to bring containers from home for their bulk items. This could be a Ziplock bag that can be used over and over again or a jar or anything else that seals. Because of varying weights of containers, stores would have to use tare weight scales where customers weight their container first so that weight is subtracted from the net weight at the checkout. If this is not possible for some grocery stores, providing paper bags instead of plastic bags is a viable option that is more environmentally friendly.
Encourage a plastic-free grocery store environment. Urge grocery stores to stop providing plastic bags in produce and bulk sections and to increase knowledge about alternative options to plastic bags in produce and bulk sections.
Dear Supermarket News,
Grocery stores need to know that plastic bags in any section of the store, whether at the checkout counter or in the produce and bulk sections, are not necessary and are contributing to environmental issues like litter pollution and oil dependency. Grocery stores need to know that it is time to make a change in shoppers’ behavior regarding the use of plastic bags.
Share information about the necessary transition from plastic bags in produce and bulk sections, as well as at cash registers, through your publication so grocery stores can reduce their contribution to litter and waste. Encourage grocery stores to market to shoppers that plastic bag use is an outdated idea that can easily be replaced by reusable bags or no bag; encourage grocery stores to stop providing single-use bags and switch to paper bags instead; motivate grocery stores to use tare weighing systems so bulk shoppers can bring their own container; or feature grocery stores that have stopped providing plastic bags to show other stores that it is feasible.
There are many ways to stop grocery stores from using of plastic bags. One of the most effective will be through your publication. Please, help spread knowledge about alternatives to plastic bags.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: geograph.org.uk