Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

 

80 Comments

Comments

Charlotte says ...
I use the ecobags canvas bags with the long handles. I can load them up with groceries and carry about three regular plastic grocery bags worth of purchases in one bag. The bag easily goes on my shoulder so I can take in a whole grocery cart full of purchases in one trip from the car. These bags have proven very sturdy this past year and still are going strong. I also stopped buying water bottles and bought a Brita filter for my kitchen sink. I fill a reusable bottle for work every day and this has reduced spending and waste. This month I started re-using ziploc bags that I take to work with dry foods such as rice cakes or breadsticks. Instead of taking a new bag every day I can use one bag all week or longer. I also stopped putting plastic utensils (that I reuse) in a plastic sandwich bag to transport them every day with my lunch, but now wrap them in the napkin I will use and put a rubberband around it so they stay clean.
01/31/2008 11:21:58 AM CST
Charlotte says ...
For the holidays I received the Shaklee Get Clean starter kit featured on Oprah. It was the best gift I have ever gotten. The laundry products are wonderful and don't have perfumey scents. The dish liquid is also great. We also re-use any plastic bags we might get as liners for small trash cans. Another tip I have, which may sound a little strange, helps to save electricity. Instead of drying my hair with a hair dryer every day, I let it air dry almost totally and then put a little hair product in. Then before I start driving to work I put in 4 velcro rollers on the ends of my long hair. During my 20 minute commute the heat or A/C I would normally use dries my hair by pointing the vents strategically. My hair is very healthy without all that damaging heat from the hair dryer. I also just bought a re-usable, water resistant, fabric shower curtain liner so I don't have to keep buying the vinyl variety.
01/31/2008 11:46:33 AM CST
J Neil Young says ...
Sadly the paper carrier alternative you offer as a bag of last resort does more harm to the Environment than most plastic bags. They weigh 10 - 30 times as much as a lightweight plastic carrier and are bulkier by a factor of 25 - 40 . So much more energy is used in their manufacture, storage, delivery and disposal than the plastic equivalent. One 40ft truck of paper CARRIERS holds 150,000 - 200,000 bags , yet the same truck will hold 3.500,000 to 4,000,000 lightweight plastic checkout carriers! Paper cannot be continaully recycled - you finish up with mud. Plastic, however is easily recycled over and over again using minimal energy in its manufacture, storage, delivery and distribution. It is a MYTH that plastic is made from oil - it is made from a by-product of the refining of oil into gasoline, so for as long as we all drive cars, use buses, trains, airplanes, or bicycles, the feed stock for the production of plastics will be available to us. We MUST use that by -product for resource efficiency, and the plastic bag is the most efficient, lightweight, strong, waterproof, non-absorbant, free and hygenic product currently available for the transportation of retail purchases home. Those well intentioned individuals who believe that cotton or jute bags are more ecologically friendly should take a hike to India where most of these bags are produced often using indentured labour, underage children, working in ill lit, filthy and unhygenic sweatshops for a pittance. The most revealing statistic provided by the Heath Department in Kolkata, India, is that 90% of all Indians do not have ACCESS to a toilet and that the Health Departments aspiration to have 50 % of all Indians having ACCESS to a toilet by 2012 is impossible to achieve. I wouldn't let a cotton or jute bag within 100 yards of my food, and to have to wash the bags repeatedly using hot water, washing powder, rinsing and drying kind of defeats the purpose of being "eco - friendly". No thanks everyone, plastic bags should continue to be used if you want to help the planet, but continue to use, reuse,again and again, and when they finally become unfit for purpose, have them recycled into garbage bags, hoticultural films, building films and other useful products. Plastic truly is fantastic!
02/07/2008 3:07:35 AM CST
Sheri says ...
Wow, very interesting comments from everyone about bag usage. I love the idea of using old potato/lemon/onion bags for produce but in the event that someone forgets theirs, I was wondering if WF's would consider also doing away with their plastic bags from the produce/bulk foods section. Why not offer small brown paper bags which could also be reused or recycled? Kudos to WF's for their choice of doing away with their plastic "grocery" bags. Keep up the great work. I love your store and your vision =)
02/07/2008 10:15:27 AM CST
Debbi says ...
I have a question that I have been "struggling" with for some time. I like to use my own cloth bags for groceries to reduce the amount of waste but what do I do with my trash (not recyclables?) I have been taking paper over plastic (when I run out of bags) and using those for both trash and paper recyclables (newspapers,mail,etc.) I don't like to buy the large kitchen trash bags. I figure at least the brown paper bags will break down more quickly in the dumps. Am I correct in this assumption? I do not like the idea of so many trees being cut down for that use but it seems better than plastics. Can you comment or give a good suggestion? Thanks....
02/07/2008 5:25:43 PM CST
Ryan Paul says ...
One idea that could really reduce the amount of waste in grocery stores and even society in general would be to promote the purchase of bulk goods dispensed to consumers in reusable containers. In stores it appears that almost everything is available in a fixed amount in "small" containers that are thrown away once used. Containers like boxes, cups, jugs, etc. are able to be recycled, but why not go back one step and reduce/eliminate them in the first place? Sturdy, reusable containers could be brought to the store and the desired quantity of an item could be dispensed/purchased at a predetermined price (if it is a "loose" product like grain, coffee, seeds, etc.). More monolithic products could be dispensed and sold just like vegetables and fruit: the consumer pays by the pound or unit in an amount that they determine, and not in a boxed or bagged fixed amount that is predetermined by the manufacturer . I realize that this would not be appropriate for all products (it would be unwise to just toss a chunk of meat or cheese in a cart and walk away) but for many necessary products I believe this would work well if consumers maintained an open mind for the sake of waste reduction.
02/18/2008 5:26:53 PM CST
Dirk De Witte says ...
I'm really interested in this blog readers opinion: One day, I carried a roll of bin liners in a cashout bag, and thought: how stupid carrying bags in a bag! A few day's later I got the idea to modify a normal bin liner, folding him up like my socks and glue two handles at the inner wall: so I got a carrier bag. Unfolding my carrier bag at home, I got again a bin liner. As bin liners are strong, I can use the bag several times, till at the end I had to replace it as my former one was token by the Community Waste services. And for sure, bin liners will not disppear very soon. So I got the US patent for it. Now I'm just curious about Whole Foods comments and the CONSUMERS comments. Thanks for it. drdirkdewitte@yahoo.com Saving carrier bags
02/22/2008 10:25:21 AM CST
J M Dworak says ...
We have been recycling, re-using, and putting just about everything in our household through the works before it's decided that it's "garbage". One of the biggest items that we throw out regularly are bottles from liquid laundry detergent. Our one household alone uses approximately 2 per month, 24 per year. I would like to see large barrels of laundry soaps at the store, with a pump; you bring back your laundry soap bottle, refill, and pay, reusing the same 1 bottle over & over. The impact of that much less "garbage" would be enormous.
02/22/2008 7:23:44 PM CST
Dirk De Witte says ...
not many people on the blogs
02/27/2008 1:38:11 PM CST
Natalie Hursky says ...
Dirk: imho, bin liners should disappear. why are we putting all our (mostly plastic) trash into plastic bags kept in plastic trash cans? so we can burn more plastic? I compost all kitchen garbage, bury meat/fish bones deep in the garden (newest thing at our house), so my trash, a very small weekly amount, is mostly non-recyclable, non-reusable packaging (mostly plastic), broken stuff (made in China, thrown out in America) and dust. The trash can is already washable plastic, why line it with a plastic bag? do we really need that convenience of carrying our trash 50 feet to the street for curb pickup in a neat plastic bag? (and not having to bring the empty trash can back to the house and washing it out every week?) not really clear on what your patent is for from your post, but these are my thoughts on plastic liners. We're suffocating from the convenience of plastic.
02/28/2008 8:56:13 AM CST
Natalie Hursky says ...
J Neil Young : It's the other way on "fantastic plastic" and "rotten cotton". Your facts are wrong. Plastic is NOT recycled over and over again, that is a myth. Plastic gallon water bottles do not become new plastic gallon water bottles, they become toys or lumber (in China), and are not further recyclable. Most plastic is not recycled at all. Check Wikipedia or http://www.ecologycenter.org/ptf/misconceptions.html. I first read this in a Coop America newsletter: only glass and metal can be recycled repeatedly, that's the reality. Just because the township gives me a recycling bucket doesn't mean the problem is solved. I'm back to feeling bad about plastic... WF is not saying paper bags are the green shopping bag "alternative" to plastic, REUSABLE bags are. Question is, what makes the best reusable shopping bag? I totally disagree on cotton and food hygiene. My neighbor recently gave me an old denim cotton shopping bag, which I've been using alot. It's super strong, the perfect size (holds SIX wine bottles no problem, try that with a plastic or paper bag!), really comfortable handles. It feels good, soft to the touch, but very strong. And it BREATHES. If it gets wet, it air dries. Plastic gets mildewy and stinks, unless you hang it to dry. Not good for reusing repeatedly. Tears easily, then what? Plastic bags are MADE to be free and thrown away, not for reusing. I've been using my cotton bag for a while now and I see no reason to "wash it repeatedly in hot water". Washed it once when I got it and hung it to dry, that's it. Someday, many many MANY years from now, it'll be composted. I just checked the label, was made in the USA. 50/50 Cotton/polyester, actually. I called the manufacturer, my bag is probably 20 yrs old. They're made in China now, from 100% plain natural cotton, and only 99 cents each. Here's the web site. http://www.janlynn.com/detail.cfm?ID=1897 I really like the size, shape and handles on this bag. I don't have to baby it, like I would plastic, it's sturdy and holds it's shape. So, what's so hygienic about plastic bags touching your food? Especially, reused plastic bags? They get wet, they don't breathe, they get mildewy and stink, and you can't wash them (well, you could, but very carefully, because they tear, and it takes forever.) A good cotton canvas bag will outlast any combination of plastic and paper. I'm still working on the perfect reusable shopping bag system. Keep getting 5 cents back from WF for each one, each time I shop. Mostly, I use a set of bags made from a combination of triple (lightweight but strong) plastic bags with a paper bag inside. The paper gives the bag a shape and absorbs any moisture. I let them dry before folding back up. At Home Depot, I got for $1.99 this great huge orange nylon shopping bag with plastic clips to open it up and attach to the sides of a shopping cart. It has elastic at the top so it stays shut after you fill it. It's huge and just perfect for produce, which is not heavy, but takes up a lot of space. We'll see how well it holds up after a few years. It's a great big bag for holding all my bags and shopping supplies, which I have to remember to put back in the car after unpacking groceries, air-drying the bags and repacking them. I've gotten into the habit. Since WF announced they're discontinuing plastic shopping bags, I've completely stopped using plastic produce bags, what for? to keep my shopping bags "clean"? I don't want all that plastic touching my organic fruits and vegetables... Reusable cloth bags do not have to be made in India nor do they have to be washed in hot water constantly. I plan to make a few more myself from old pairs of jeans. Plastic is so fantastic, it's littered all over the streets and we're just taking all this "convenience" for granted. It's created this magic mindset, every little thing we buy has to go into a (hygienic?) plastic bag, our trash has to go in a plastic bag, a sip of orange juice goes in a plastic bottle, etc. If you had to keep every plastic thing you consumed on your own property, it would pile up and you would not want any more.
02/28/2008 11:29:07 AM CST
Dirk De Witte says ...
Hello Natalie, Thanks for your interesting reply. You know, I really want to be respectfull to nature, but I must accept that our environment produces some waste. This is unavoidable. Or you have - to be fully consequent with yourselves - to abandon the use of modern features, like television, internet, electricity, petrol, cars even chewing gum or sunglasses: all stuff who produces at a certain moment some litter. So I start with something: one bag instead of two, you with burying the bones in the garden. But pay attention your garden doesn't become a "landfill" ! The difference lays in the quantity you bury. Why not give the bones and kitchen garbage to animals, (chicken, dogs, cats) they recycle them very efficiently. You know, Natalie, what's very positive is that you are conscious of the excess of waste; How each individual responses to this is of lesser importance; Concerning the patent: it's very simple: its concerning the form of the bags. You can see it on the site: http://www.2bagsin1.com A warm hug, Dirk
02/28/2008 2:37:40 PM CST
Natalie Hursky says ...
Dirk, Seems to me you're more interested in making money than saving the planet from plastics. I really think both your products are a bit ridiculous. I'm giving you feedback as a consumer, take heed; that's what you requested. Now, you know from my posts where I stand as a consumer and conscientious citizen worried about the environment. I've been mindful and concerned for longer than most people, I'm on that end of the green scale. Your attitude towards me and the whole green movement is very condescending and offensive; not good marketing. You imply that I'm so stupid, I'm going to turn my garden into a landfill, it's insulting, and infuriating at the same time because you don't know anything about recycling or composting, obviously. First of all, FIX your website, it's "Reduce Reuse Recycle", in that order; REDUCE first, recycle as a last resort. If you want to enter the green market, learn something about it first. You're quoting buzzwords and missing the whole point. Now, about composting, I will try to enlighten you about that. I strive to be less lazy and change something else until it becomes a habit. So the meat bones.... Before, I was putting meat bones, anything fish, in a plastic bag in the freezer, so it doesn't stink up my trash. (I have no garbage, compost it all for my small garden. Therefore, I don't need plastic garbage bags...) So I was REUSING plastic bags for that. Now, my grandmother had a huge garden for 50 years, it was fantastic, she buried EVERYTHING in there. Including bones. And the garden soil was tremendous, lush, dark, creamy, healthy, wonderful. Because she fed it, naturally. So I was aware of how that works. I decided to do the same. Now I put the meat bones (and yes, I'm actually aware that my cat can chew on them first.... what a concept!) in a reused plastic container in the freezer, and when that's full, bury it in the garden. And I said deep, because I don't want wild animals digging it up. I live in a suburb. It's really not that astounding a thing to do, seems normal to me. Try burning something plastic, smell that, and decide if that's "normal" and hygienic, or if it stinks. Now that I've eliminated garbage from my trash, I don't need plastic liners. I have a lifetime supply of plastic bags anyway, because I save all bags from garden supply (lime, compost, peat moss, fertilizer) in the garage, and reuse these for trash, if necessary. Most weeks, it's not. If you stop and THINK about what you're doing, and the first step is to be properly INFORMED about how plastic, etc. is made, how it is collected, if when how it is recycled, then you can begin to be a concientous green consumer. So the people who get on this blog (Dirk, J Neil Young) and instead of INFORMING other readers, tries to sell plastic, with misinformation, I gotta get on there, with a long blog, and set the record straight. It's a lot of work and effort being green, part of that is sifting out the bad info.
02/29/2008 8:34:40 AM CST
Jeff Daly says ...
I wrote into this blog about a month ago and have been trying desperately to get in touch with the buyers at wholefoods about the bio-degradable bags. The buyers are set up by divison and some have been interested, some have not and some just have not responded at all. However all the concerns about plastic bags would be completely resolved with the commitment from the wholefoods buyers if they purchased this plastic bag of mine. It is made already out of recycled plastic=WIN It has a goverment approved additive that makes the bag completely bio-degradable = WIN It is completely compoastable in 3 to 6 months = WIN We can provide counter check out bags = WIN we can provide kitchen trash bags for consumers =WIN and we can provide Lawn & Leaf bags for consumers - WIN we can provide cat littter pan liners. What we need more than anything is for wholefoods to be more recptive to this new idea and product. There is an old saying that goes DONT TALK THE TALK IF YOU CANT WALK THE WALK! You either are worried and concerned about the enviroment or you your just giving lip service to promote business. We need to all request of the companys to be genuine and actually try to make a difference!
02/29/2008 9:08:12 AM CST
Natalie Hursky says ...
GREAT link posted above by Lynn Murphy above link has been updated, here is: http://www.bestlifeonline.com/cms/publish/health-fitness/Our_oceans_are_turning_into_plastic_are_we_2_printer.shtml I think WF is walking the walk, btw Jeff Daly, they are pushing REUSABLE bags. It's up to customers to stop being lazy and unorganized, and use (and re-use and re-use) them. I don't think this blog is the right place to get in touch with store buyers. Good luck.
02/29/2008 9:52:19 AM CST
Jeff Daly says ...
This is not my way of trying to reach the buyers, but to reach the people concerned with the alternatives to remembering to bring re-usable bags. Unfortunately, life is busy, complicated and stressful. More times than not store visits are done on the fly. a lot of times unplanned ( probably more times than not). Trying to remember to bring a re-usable bag is not always top priority. Convenience is just that, convenient. Why put people through the inconvenience when this product eliminates Plastic to begin with by recycling. That is helpful. And then it is made into bio-degradable product that is completely compostable. Earth friendly and environmentally responsible. My point about mentioning it to the stores managers or Assist managers is it will make them aware there is a product available that will help the customer and the environment. That is what advertising is designed to do. Make customers aware and ask for the product to create a demand. I know this, if you don't at least ask for something, your not going to get it. If the customer asks for the product, chance are the request will be pushed up the line to the proper people. whether it is my product or somebody Else's. A problem will be resolved and a need will be fulfilled and a convenience will be restored that will compliment the environment not decimate it! Jeff Daly Jdalytime@yahoo.com
02/29/2008 10:34:59 AM CST
Dirk De Witte says ...
Dear Natalie, it is really and absolutely not my intention to hurt you, offend you or being condescendent. Thank you for pushing a glimp to the website and you are right: first REDUCE, than reuse and finally recycle. But I learn from your comments you are a champion in REUSE, whether I simply got an idea to REDUCE bags by using first the trash bag as a carrier bag. Afterwards, you may REUSE the trash bag so many times you want. Concerning your grandmother's garden, I suspect that she had no alternative as no garbage collection occured in that time. I did the same when living in Paraguay. I also buried deep non comestible kitchen trash, the rest I threw away far from home as there were really wild and hungry animals; Please Natalie, forget my joke about your landfill. And that I hope to make some money out of a perhaps good idea, so what ? You think Whole Foods is there only to feed you and their bosses philanthropics ? Natalie, I really appreciate your concerns and I share it with you. Warm regards, Dirk
02/29/2008 12:19:46 PM CST
Bethany C. Halle says ...
I love the (made from recyled) plastic big blue bags. I have an addtion/change to suggest. I live in NYC and walk take the subway etc, use ALL the stores to shop in and, if you ADDED A FLAP to the TOP and MOVED THE HANDLES to one side it could be used as a BACK PACK, for folks with children or dogs and would like a free hand…..
03/03/2008 8:44:26 AM CST
Margaret says ...
In the last several months I have been rinsing and reusing all of my plastic produce bags whereas I used to be lazy and throw them out most of the time (sorry). I wish there was an alternative to produce bags -- I don't feel good about not using bags for sanitary reasons. I recycle as much as is possible and have recently bought the biodegradable bags at Whole Foods for everything else. Although they are more expensive, I have much less trash now, thereby using less bags, and feel much better knowing that these bags won't be a hazard in our landfill. When the weather is warmer I plan to compost and reduce my waste even further. I have also bought a few of the Whole Foods reusable grocery totes which are very colorful and uplifting. Thanks Whole Foods for your efforts to motivate people to contribute to saving our environment.
03/07/2008 6:41:05 AM CST
noreen says ...
I try my best to reuse and reduce, since this country makes recycling such a challenge. One thing i have started doing is reusing cereal,cracker and potato chip bags instead of buying new sandwich and freezer bags. I reuse all plastic packaging that is clean and i find these bags more durable than the ones you purchase. I just reuse the twist ties over and over as well. Also i reuse plastic grocery bags as trash bags and have opted to have a small trashcan rather than a large one that i would have to buy trash bags for. This allows me to save money and help the environment as well. I even have my friends doing it now.
03/07/2008 1:36:38 PM CST
tina says ...
I hope that WFM will lead the country in the effort to encourage consumer packaged goods companies to use truly recyclable or biodegradable packaging. I noticed that many of the products for sale at WFM are packaged in non-recyclable, non biodegradable, non reusable containers. Plastic bottles with non recylcable tops for example. Tetra briks have no recyclable content (the plastic spouts used to be but not anymore). Cheese is wrapped in plastic wrap. The plastic sheets they use to pack your deli cuts, seafood, butcher cut meats. Now that WFM has made it easy to buy local, organic, and all natural products, I'm moving on to the next thing which is trying to base my buying decisions on ecologically responsible packaging, including buying bulk using and reusing plastic containers and bags, reusing plastic bags for produce, making things from scratch instead of buying processed/packaged foods. As a customer with a $800+/week WFM habit as well as an investor, I would love to see WFM use its well earned credentials in tackling the profusion of overpackaged goods in the market. Thanks.
03/07/2008 11:09:53 PM CST
Tracy says ...
you can bring pillow cases or buy drawstring bags on some reusable bag websites for your produce. i bought some at http://reusablebags.com/ that way you can try to leave the grocery store using no plastic! :)
03/10/2008 12:04:35 PM CDT
Cool Grocery Bags says ...
Americans use 92 Billion plastic grocery bags a year and 5 billion paper grocery bags. One of the simplest ways to have a positive environmental impact is to use reusable grocery bags. http://www.CoolGroceryBags.com
03/16/2008 8:55:21 AM CDT
Sharon in Texas says ...
I've got to admit I'm less green since I moved to Pasadena Texas where it was unheard of. But...if you use your own bags, what do you put trash in? I avoid plastic and use paper bags (though it isn't as neat).
03/21/2008 10:08:58 AM CDT
Kim says ...
It's been easier to remember to take my own "green bags" into stores since I made sure that I have extra cloth bags in both of our cars. At least for me, I had to get past the excuses and a bit of laziness in order to stay committed to using my own bags and not accepting the bags from stores. In some suburban stores people do look at you in a funny way when you hand over your tote bags or just say that you don't need a bag, but I'm finding that overall people are getting better at realizing that it is better for the environment to not use all the plastic bags. Maybe if more of us keep doing this it will inspire others to follow suit and spread the green message. I realize that we all need to do more, but at least it's a start.
03/23/2008 9:21:00 PM CDT

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