North Tahoe Raley’s store voluntarily does away with plastic bags
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — In recent months, shoppers at the Incline Village Raley’s store may have notice something missing at checkout counters — single-use plastic bags.
Around last Memorial Day the store voluntarily decided to do away with disposable plastic bags at checkout after getting the OK from corporate officials, said Mike Finn, Raley’s Incline store team leader.
“Our decision was that we live in a beautiful place, and if our stores in South Shore (aren’t offering) plastic bags … we didn’t want to be the only store at the lake doing it,” he said. “We wanted to get ahead of the curve.”
In October 2013, the South Lake Tahoe City Council adopted a plastic bag ban for area grocery stores to take place Jan. 15, 2014. Raley’s has two stores on the South Shore, on the California side of the lake.
Meanwhile, no such law exists in Nevada’s Washoe County, where the Incline Raley’s store is located.
Despite that, the Incline store initiated a phased-out approach of plastic check-out bags, offering its then-inventory of bags to customers without replenishing them, causing bags to run out around July 1, 2015, Finn said.
The store now only offers free paper bags or reusable bags for purchase.
Former store employee Cassedy Bauman originally proposed the idea, citing the environment and the future his then-unborn daughter would grow up in as his main motivation.
“It was a lot easier than I anticipated,” he said, given the general opposition plastic bag bans have faced. “The senior leaders were really on board.”
Raley’s, based out of West Sacramento, Calif., considered several factors in its decision, including community acceptance and ease of use, said Chelsea Minor, the company’s director of public relations & public affairs.
Having its Lake Tahoe Basin stores all adhere to the same no plastic bag rule would ensure consistency for its shoppers, she said, advancing ease of use for customers who are environmentally conscious.
Further, Minor said: “We are proud residents of Tahoe, and understand its pristine value, so our goal and hope is that we do our part of eliminating plastic trash in the area,” she said. “Also … if we can change customer behavior and educate along the way, then we are doing our part.”
In general, Finn said he has observed customers bringing in reusable bags more frequently than prior to the store doing away with plastic bags.
This is despite the fact the Incline store does not charge customers for paper bags at checkout.
With no local plastic bag ordinance in place, Raley’s saw no reason to charge a fee, Minor said. However, should such an ordinance pass affecting the Incline Village jurisdiction and dictate a charge for paper bags, the Incline store will have to change its paper bag fee policy to be compliant.
Of the 126 stores it operates in Northern California and Nevada, Raley’s Incline store is the only one to implement a voluntary single-use plastic bag ban, Minor said.
“We’re very proud of our decision, and it was the right thing to do in Incline Village,” she said.
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