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Kudos to You for Reusing Bags!

By Paige Brady, April 7, 2009  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Paige Brady
Plastic Bags It's been a year now since we eliminated disposable plastic grocery bags in our stores. (Feel free to insert lame joke here about time flying.) We thought customers would support this move but we've been blown away by how much: reusable bag use has tripled and we estimate that together we've kept about 150 million plastic bags out of landfills since last Earth Day. Way cool. Definitely the right move at the right time. And this is one of those things that really makes a difference. During the Ocean Conservancy's 2008 International Coastal Cleanup, they found 1.4 million plastic bags littering our ocean and waterways - the second most common item found after cigarette butts. Dianne Sherman, Director of the International Coastal Cleanup, explains: "Trash travels - even if we live thousands of miles inland our actions have a profound effect on the ocean. A bag can blow from a picnic table, wash down a storm drain into a river, and wind up harming or killing a sea turtle, bird or other marine life that eats it. Ocean debris is one of the most pervasive - but solvable - pollution problems facing our ocean and waterways. Whole Foods Market and their customers are demonstrating how simple lifestyle changes can make a sea change." Of course, we want to keep it going and encourage even more customers to reuse their bags. We'll continue to offer our A Better Bag at .79 and .99 in addition to a variety of other reusable bags. And don't forget that we offer a refund of at least five cents for bringing your own bag to use. We know, too, that this is a first step. We are continuing to evaluate each department in our stores to find ways to improve packaging efforts. We are currently seeking alternatives to plastic bags in our bulk, produce, bakery and seafood departments and we're working with vendors to eliminate styrofoam packaging in shipments. In 2007, we introduced all-natural fiber packaging (from plants that are cultivated or grow wild and are harvested annually) at its salad and food bars. We keep working to raise the bar and know that others will follow our lead. So, thanks to all of you who bring your own bags! Got a special way to help you remember to bring those reuseable bags when you shop? Share your ideas here.

 

29 Comments

Comments

Anne says ...
We often buy the "two-bite cupcakes" in the bakery section, and we've noticed the plastic packaging doesn't indicate which type of plastic it is. We can recycle all types of plastic (with some effort) if we separate them, but these go into the trash because we can't tell how to sort them. Any thoughts on the types of plastics used for your pre-packaged foods? Thanks.
04/07/2009 9:14:35 PM CDT
Marie says ...
When I get home from shopping, as soon as my favorite reusable bag has been emptied, I place my purse in it and hang them up/put them away together like that. I never forget to take my purse with me, so there you go! I leave my purse in the shopping bag until I actually need it inside the store. Now I can even remember to take along multiple bags if I have a lot of purchases to make. :)
04/08/2009 2:57:18 AM CDT
pat says ...
I saw a beautiful plastic bag made from plastic water bottles in my bank. I was told that I could purchase them from Whole Foods.com. Any comments on how to order these?
04/08/2009 10:00:54 PM CDT
hsiaw says ...
We sell the FEED100 bag onlines (http://www.feedprojects.org), but out recycled Better Bags are only available in our stores. Thanks!
04/09/2009 12:18:05 PM CDT
Lisa says ...
I always keep a ChicoBag (http://www.reusablebags.com/store/chicobag-c-77.html?osCsid=17fe38f58674a3eae369061132b7307b) or Envirosax (http://www.reusablebags.com/store/envirosax-c-65.html) bag in my purse at all times. I also have a bag in the car.
04/09/2009 12:34:46 PM CDT
Millie says ...
Please consider replacing the plastic bags that you provide in the store (for instance in bakery and produce) with cellulose bags which are truly biodegradeable and compostable. Or barring that, at least provide people with small paper sacks instead of the plastic bags that pretty much just get thrown away. Considering that Whole Foods is one of the stores that provides environmental alternatives, it would be nice if you would consider doing away with ALL "true" plastic bags in your stores, not just shopping bags. BUT that being said, thank you for encouraging your customers to bring their own. :)
04/16/2009 3:57:00 PM CDT
Angela Bennett says ...
I think it's a bunch of hooey - Whole Foods, now Vitamin Cottage, not providing bags at checkout - inconvenient and a way for these vendors to save HUGE amounts of MONEY - all in the "guise" of saving the planet - how CONVENIENT! Haven't you "sheeple" thought of this??? Some other vendor(s) sure sold them a bill of goods, too - MAKING CUSTOMERS BUY BAGS. Geez. Seriously, what's next - bring your own pitcher and stick it under the cow's udder for milk? If you ask me, it's the PACKAGING that should be addressed, not the method used to transport it from the store to home. I LOVED the Whole Foods bags of yore. I still have things stored in them. When they went to the thin, hardly reusable bags (they often tore after one use), I was greatly disappointed. If you provide a bag worthy of re-use, it will be reused. I'll be damned if I'll PAY for a fricking bag!
06/01/2009 12:50:10 PM CDT
George says ...
To Angela Bennett: I agree with you completely, it is inconvenient to have to bring your own bag to the store. However, most North Americans have grown up totally oblivious to the limited resources and the growing population of the Earth. No one to blame, it was all part of our progress. But just b/c plastic bags were invented doesn't mean it was a smart idea for the environment. It's time we got off our spoiled butts and inconvenienced ourselves a little to make the world a better place to live. You may think it's propaganda, but watch this video, even if just for the amazing cinematography. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqxENMKaeCU
06/25/2009 3:28:36 PM CDT
Rachel says ...
I also would be very happy if Whole Foods followed the lead of my local farmers' market in using compostable produce bags. I know of one manufacturer, and there may be others. The one I know is BioBags: "Item #202000 BioBag Produce Bag: http://www.biobagusa.com/Commercial.htm You'll need to scroll half way down the page to see this item.
10/26/2009 9:59:26 PM CDT
pancakes says ...
Dear Angela, Whole Foods didn't stop giving out plastic bags to save money. I'm sure they have LOTS more people choosing paper now than in the past and paper costs more than plastic. Before you refer to readers of this blog as "sheeple" - a ridiculous assertion - get your facts straight. I'm tired of the naysayers picking apart the one company that actually backs up their talk with action. Bravo, Whole Foods!
02/16/2010 6:47:04 PM CST
Rainey says ...
OK, let me start by saying I love Whole Foods however, as I went into the store the other day, I was accosted by a "Greenie" who tried to coerce me into banning plastic bags and ideally taxing paper bags to try and NUDGE people to purchase reusable bags. I told her I recycle all of my plastic and paper bags but of course, that isn't good enough. She then tried to tell me that the plastic bags can only be used in an "inferior plastic product." It's a damned if you do, damned if you don't with this bag nonsense. Now, when I was in line getting ready to get my three or four items, I glanced at the reusable bags hanging there and pulled the tag from the inside which read, "Made in China." Now there's being GREEN, ship the stuff over from China and then in trucks all over the States to the different stores. Wouldn't being truly green mean having these things locally made? Oh yeah, we don't make things here anymore because it pollutes our air. Better China than us, right? Now, if I am going to be preached to unwillingly, you better have good back up to support your cause because that kinda kills the whole argument. Not to mention being accosted when I just want to go shopping without a stranger telling me what I should and shouldn't do. How about leaving me alone and let me make my own decisions.
05/19/2010 2:36:37 AM CDT
DJ Morris says ...
I just heard on the news that reusable bags that are made in China contain lead in the paint? Do the Whole Foods bags contain lead?
11/15/2010 10:10:57 AM CST
C.Nature says ...
Is there lead in the whole foods plastic coated reusable bags? How about the original whole food cloth bags, which by the way were 100 times better since you can wash them. You can NOT wash the plastic coated bags.
11/15/2010 3:08:19 PM CST
bepkom says ...
Thanks for your comment! We're looking into the matter and will definitely follow up as soon as we have more information.
11/15/2010 3:23:47 PM CST
Gary says ...
Thank you for your effort to break the plastic grocery bags. My question is: The Sarasota Herald published a story 11/15/10? on lead on Publix and Winn-Dixie re-usable grocery bags, the ones with a plastic coating and art work on them. The cloth bags were not mentioned? Do you know of the lead content of WF bags?
11/16/2010 7:23:53 AM CST
bepkom says ...
Thank you for your question! We have looked into this concern and there are no issues with our bags.
11/16/2010 7:24:34 AM CST
linda gregory says ...
With the bag I use you won't need a special way to help you remember to bring those reuseable bags when you shop.It's a stylish bag for every day that has a hidden secret that turns it into a great shopper.Undo the central zip and reveal a colourful flash of lining and extra space ,so it can hold lots more .And because it's very light at the start you can load it up without a care.Happy stylish shopping!
02/08/2011 1:57:29 PM CST
Criselda Hickinbotham says ...
i found your site while i was searching in google, very interesting.
05/08/2011 11:35:11 PM CDT
moneyblogger says ...
Sweet internet site, super design and style, very clean and employ genial.
05/27/2011 1:46:46 PM CDT
Fred says ...
I am impressed by the reuse bag program. This is something that all the markets should do. Thoses plastic bag are terrible. We have been shopping at Whole foods for the past 8 months and love the program. Kutos to your efforts.
06/11/2011 12:11:18 PM CDT
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06/28/2011 4:10:03 PM CDT
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07/03/2011 5:04:34 PM CDT
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07/22/2011 9:47:22 AM CDT
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08/14/2011 10:16:10 AM CDT
sarah says ...
Remembering to bring my bags to the store has always been a big problem (for me as well as most of my friends). We have all the best intentions.. but somehow we end up with huge supplies of unused reusable bags. My solution for this was that I created a fabric ( treated with a non toxic substance) that I have sewn directly on to my bags. I use an erasable pen and write my list (also my errands and reminders etc.) onto the attached fabric which is now permanently sewn onto my bag. With my new 'list system' I never forget to take my bags nor do I leave by bags in a hot car. When I empty my 'list' bag I simply wash off the grocery list with a wet sponge... it magically disappears. Voila!! I'm ready to start my list again.. and again and again and again. This works great as the ink doesn't rub off on me nor does it mysteriously disappear before I get to the store... it only comes off when I easily wipe it off with a wet sponge. Great too because I never need another scrap of paper to lose or misplace!
10/14/2012 2:31:53 PM CDT

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