Plastic bags passe?

The other day I went to our local grocery store and saw this:

bag sign

I’m still kind of new to my camera phone, so it’s a hideous shot (and I wasn’t shopping at a totally deserted store … just managed to get no one in my shot!).

But the orange sign is a handwritten sign that says “Did you remember to bring your bags?”

My grocery store (a King Soopers store two blocks from my house) has always accepted my bring-my-own bags without any argument. I purchase gift cards from my daughter’s school (they get 5 or 10 percent of the amount back), and when the card is empty, the checker takes it and says, “I’ll throw that out for you — or actually, we reuse them.”

I found a sack of plastic bags in my laundry room and took them to King Soopers’ bag recycling bin. It’s a large barrel where shoppers can put their bags, and it’s often full. In the past I’ve assumed it is seldom emptied, and that’s why it’s full. That morning, around 9 a.m., the barrel was empty. “Yippee!” I thought, and dumped my sack into the barrel.

Later that same day, around 6 p.m., I walked back over to the store to pick up an item for dinner. On my way out I glanced at the barrel. It was completely full, with a bag of bags on top and two more bags sitting on the floor next to it.

It appears infrequent emptying isn’t the issue. It’s that people are eliminating their plastic bag stashes.

The other day when I was shopping, at least 40 to 50 percent of the shoppers had their own bags with them. Just a year or so ago, there might be just me and perhaps one other shopper with their own bags in the store at any given time. And the bag sign and the comments are the kind of service one used to get only at a natural foods market.

Sea change!

Are you seeing this change in your neighborhood? What will become of the plastic bag industry?

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5 thoughts on “Plastic bags passe?

  1. Melissa says:

    I was impressed when I was shopping yesterday and when I didn’t whip out my bags fast enough, the bagger had to un-bag, but he did it quickly and without complaint. Then as I was leaving the store, I passed another shopper going in with her cloth bags. They’re also really good about just putting a sticker onto large items or items you don’t want a bag for so that you don’t have to take a bag just to be “legit”. Times are changing!

  2. Verda Vivo says:

    I’m so glad to hear that about half of the shoppers in your grocery store are BYOB! Even though the plastic recycle bins are usually full at our grocery store, I see more plastic bags than anything else here is southern Arizona. Checkers don’t fill up plastic bags either fearing either that they will break or that shoppers won’t be able to lift them.

    I am glad to report that reusable bags are available at all grocery stores so their use is on the rise. We just have a long way to go!

  3. cheaplikeme says:

    Maybe your store needs a reminder sign! And at least they are recycling.

    I spotted a sign at our store a couple of years ago reminding baggers to only put 4-5 items in each plastic bag. Just for convenience, I’d rather bring my own, which easily carry more like a dozen items.

  4. That Saddity Chic says:

    I’d love to start using my reusable bags. I ordered them online 3 weeks ago and still haven’t gotten them! But I do see lots of people bringing their own bags to the market. I love it 🙂

  5. Condo Blues says:

    I’m really good about bringing my reusable shopping bags to the grocery store but not to regular stores. Last Christmas I made a more concious effort to do so. On one shopping trip the older lady behind me in line remarks as the cashier was bagging my items, “bringing your own bag is the New American Thing.” I thought it was a strange comment, but just smiled at her and said, “oh. Well I’ve been doing this for quite awhile. I don’t want a ton of plastic bags hanging out in my utility room. I think they mate behind my back so the pile of bags doubles in size when I’m not looking.”

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