A message to our shoppers: Use re-useable carry-out bags
August 3, 2007
California law regarding reusable carryout bags at supermarkets changed this month.Now we shoppers have to change. Supermarkets offer paper or plastic and now must offer reusable carryout bags. These are generally washable polypropylene or basic canvas.Theres really only one choice reusable. Every year in California 19 billion (with a b) plastic shopping bags end up in landfills or even worse, scattered throughout the state. That is about to change and each of us can do our part. It couldnt be easier.Stock the car you use for shopping with reusable bags. Then remember to carry them when shopping like into Safeway or Albertsons (the latter apparently soon to be Save Mart). Thats probably the hardest part, at least for a memory-deficient old guy like me.Safeway sells organic green or black-colored bags for a dollar and gives you a five cent credit for each bag you bring in and reuse. Of course, they have a recycling bin out front for plastic or paper bags. Currently Albertsons is out of bags, which is a violation of the law by the way, but bags are on the way. They will sell for a dollar and you get a five-cent credit on each reuse. Albertsons has a recycling bin too. Trader Joes has canvas bags selling for a dollar. On reuse you get to participate in a weekly drawing. Trader Joes doesnt offer plastic, only paper, which is fine.New Moon Natural Foods uses paper and offers canvas reusable bags for sale. The best reusable bags I found are at Costco. Theyre double-sized polypropylene bags. You can get two for less than $2. They are sturdy and fold flat like all the reusable bags. Stock up now. Like I said, put them in your car. Tie a string on your finger to remember to bring them into the store (at Safeway I had to run out and retrieve my Costco bags).
A few hints on packing groceries per the Progressive Bag Alliance: Build walls on the sides with boxes or light items, putting the heavier stuff in the center. Cushion glass items with small boxes and light packages. Dont do what I do and put all the heavy stuff in the same bag. Packages with handles usually go without a sack.Oh yes, eggs and chips go on top, poultry and meats are put in a plastic bag. Hmmm.Using reusable bags is easy, its just a matter of getting used to it. Together we can make a difference. Its also cool. Just ask my Mom who has used the same canvas bags for over 25 years. That must be where I get my coolness.
Safeway and Albertsons, consider stocking your reusable bags at each checkout counter and training your checkout clerks to ask shoppers if they would like to purchase a reusable bag. Would it work to bump the nickel incentive to a dime?Jim Porter is an attorney with PorterSimon, with offices in Truckee, South Lake Tahoe and Reno. He is a mediator and was the Governor’s appointee to the Bipartisan McPherson Commission and the California Fair Political Practices Commission. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at the firms web site http://www.portersimon.com. 2007