Co-op to Phase Out Plastic Shopping Bags

By Susan B. Apel

Paper or plastic? The question asked at the Co-op checkout counter. I always say paper. Maybe plastic to wrap around a store-roasted chicken, or if I am low on liners for a bathroom trash can. 

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By the spring of the 2020, the Co-op Food Store plans to eliminate the plastic grocery bags currently available at checkout. Ed Fox, Co-op General Manager, said in a statement (available here:) “Phasing out plastic bags is just another step in our co-op’s long history of member-driven environmental leadership.” Acknowledging that a bill to restrict single-use plastic bags is currently before the New Hampshire legislature, Fox sees no reason to wait, preferring to be proactive.

Plastic in its most disposable forms—bags, straws, water bottles—has been the subject of much deserved bad press. Especially noxious are the stories of the tons of plastic garbage swirling throughout the earth’s oceans. 

Reusable shopping bags are a popular alternative in the war against plastic (and paper). Best for very organized people who remember to bring them for every shopping expedition. (I am not so blessed.) And if  you google “reusable bags” and “bacteria,” you’ll find many unsavory stories. Apparently people (not you, certainly) wash their bags even less often than their office coffee mugs. 

Will the Co-op’s elimination of these plastic bags make a difference? It’s a step. Got something to say about it? The Co-op is listening and invites your comments. So do I. 

And, more food for thought: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/29/climate/plastic-paper-shopping-bags.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur

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