Trying to Get A Handle on Plastic Bags

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Whole Foods may be saying goodbye to plastic bags, but most other local grocery stores are holding on, at least for now. Giant, Harris Teeter, Safeway, Shoppers Food & Pharmacy and Wegmans all continue to offer paper and plastic. Most paper bags contain some recycled material. Harris Teeter leads the way with a paper bag made of 100 percent recycled material.

Stores say they are trying to induce consumers to use fewer bags. Wegmans, for example, recently switched to a larger, stronger plastic bag. It's not made from recycled material, a spokeswoman says, but the company hopes it will cut down on the number of plastic bags by 25 percent.

They are also encouraging customers to recycle plastic and use reusable bags. All area stores offer in-store bag recycling. It's good for the environment, and the stores make money; the plastic is sold to companies, often to be turned into decking material. Each store also sells reusable bags for 99 cents or less and insulated reusable bags for between $1 and $1.99. Giant and Whole Foods offer a rebate for bringing your own bag. At Giant, you'll get a 3-cent credit; Whole Foods offers 5 cents per bag.

-- Jane Black

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