Reusable Shopping Bags Catching on in Grocery Stores


August 28, 2007 | Posted by: Ry

If you have ever saved your grocery shopping bags for an indefinite period of time, you should know just how fast they can add up. Perhaps you have even come to find that the grocery store you have been collecting the bags from does not even recycle plastic grocery bags! Considering that most people do not even attempt to recycle their plastic bags and dispose of them in the trashcan, the impact on the environment has been costly. According to Sierra Club, over 100 billion plastic bags are thrown out in the U.S. every year, with no more than 3% being recycled. This is costly indeed.

What is also costly is the cost for grocery stores and other retail chains to constantly manufacture the bags, which has now become a major incentive for stores to sell reusable shopping bags. Just like most eco-friendly products, the financial incentives for offering reusable bags are just as good as the environmental ones. Some stores like Whole Foods offer credits to customers who return used shopping bags. At five to ten cents per bag, which is no more than what it would cost for the bag to be made, this is a win-win situation for everybody. Whole Foods and other stores have also begun selling sturdy, canvas tote bags that can be used for all sorts of carrying purposes in addition to transporting groceries.

Other stores like the Swedish retailer Ikea have rolled with the idea of reusable bags even further. They made it a mission to cut back on all plastic bag usage by 50%, which they have already exceeded. The way they did this was by actually charging customers five cents for every plastic shopping bag, or giving customers the alternative of buying reusable shopping bags for only fifty-nine cents. Just like compact fluorescent light bulbs, it may cost a little more the first time, but will actually end up saving even more in the long run. Heck, a deal like this will end up saving more in the short run! The reusable shopping bags and lunch bags at I'm Organic are not only cute and affordable, they are made from 100% organic cotton. Now that's sustainable, if you ask me.

Even large wholesale clubs like Costco are considering selling reusable shopping bags, where plastic bags are not even used to begin with. Wholesale clubs like this simply reuse the boxes that merchandise is shipped in because it is in such large quantities. However, Costco is considering having their product suppliers ship products on pallets instead of boxes, which would save both Costco and the suppliers money. Currently, Costco is testing out reusable shopping bags in the San Francisco area, where they are selling two-packs for $1.79. And people are buying them up says Costco's COO.


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