Goodbye to disposable grocery bags?

Goodbye to disposable grocery bags?

Earlier this year, District of Columbia shoppers were hit with a 5-cent fee for every plastic bag used during checkout. Now, California shoppers may say goodbye to paper and plastic altogether.

The state assembly approved a bill that would make California the first to ban disposable bags at grocery stores. Considering the negative environmental impact these bags have, I suspect this is not the first we’ll hear of this type of legislation.

A few facts to Consider:

  • It takes 14 million trees for paper and 12 million barrels of oil for plastic, to make the bags we use each year.

  • The production of paper bags creates 70 percent more air pollution than plastic, but plastic bags create four times the solid waste — enough to fill the Empire State Building two and a half times, MSNBC reports.

  • Plastic bags can last up to a thousand years

  • The average family of four uses 1,500 plastic bags a year which contribute to over 100,000 marine animal deaths when the animals mistake the bags for food.

The California bill is now off to the Senate for approval and would require supermarkets to phase out bags by January 1, 2012 and provide reusable bags for sale or free distribution.

Already, California along with Rhode Island, New York and Delaware and cities like Chicago and Tucson have laws requiring stores to take back plastic bags for recycling.

I think as attentions shift, no bags on board looks good for any natural retailer regardless if they’re in a regulated area. Luckily, natural stores have been at the forefront of the no-bag movement for some time; so it should be easy to steal a few ideas to ease your store into becoming bag free.

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