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[GreenYes] Grocery Bags
Jeff Elder Wrote:
"Curious, does anyone know what actually happens to the plastic bag
collections that grocery stores have?"

On Maui, we there is a collection box for bags inside Wal-Mart. 
However, since Maui Recycling Service has the contract for picking up
the recovered bags in the dumpster out back, I can say that those bags
never make it to the dumpster.  It is always empty despite repeated
calls to Wal-Mart.

Further, should the bags eventually make it to the processor; they will
ultimately end up in the landfill.  The local plastic processor sorts
out plastic bottles (beverages, milk jugs and laundry bottles) for
baling and landfills the rest.  Therefore, no recycled grocery bags on
Maui actually get recycled.

In other words, our local Wal-Martís plastic grocery bag recovery
program is a farce and unfortunately, we are part of it.  Can you say
"green washing?"

Camille Armantrout - Maui Recycling Service

Roger M. Guttentag Wrote:

"As a final comment, the environmentally superior solution would a
reusable shopping bag.  One idea that I have, which I have not seen
implemented (though I would be interested in knowing if it has been
done) would be for the store to develop a branded shopping bag (one
with its name and logo) that it could sell but then give a small rebate
to the consumer each time it was used.  Perhaps a barcode could be
attached to the bag so it was scan able for the purpose of both
awarding the rebate and tracking customer bag reuse patterns."

I agree that reusable shopping bags are the solution. However, I don't
think they should not have a store logo on them.  Most people shop at
more than one store and would feel self-conscious about bringing a
Safeway bag into Wal-Mart, for instance.

We bought all purpose (washable) cotton bags from
and use them in ALL the stores we frequent.  We bought the string
market bags and the produce bags which we use for bulk food like beans
and pasta as well as vegetables.  They are washable and attractive.

Forgetting to bring them into the store can be a problem, but we are
improving with time.  If we do forget and arenít buying much, we carry
it out in our hands.  We reuse the few bags we do end up with for trash
and for staging recyclables.

I like the idea of charging 5 cents per bag in the store.  The store
could sell unmarked, reusable bags at the checkout counters.  In order
for this to work, ALL the stores must do this or else individual stores
will waive the bag fee in the name of customer service.  That 5 cents
would be the most effective motivation for people to change their
shopping habits.  You have to make it hard to do the wrong thing and
easy to do the right thing.

Camille Armantrout - Maui Recycling Service
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