Imagine every day, all day long, each person shopping is filling their carts full with plastic produce bags for each single item of produce. If everyone used their own reusable produce bags, we can eliminate a tremendous amount of plastic right there.
Below is a letter I wrote to several stores in my community about the issue of replacing plastic produce bags with reusable produce bags. I shared with them how this idea is becoming more popular with people and how they can incorporate this idea as part of their brand and business model. I not only sent this letter to them, but I went into the store to meet with them in person. You can write your own letter to grocery stores in your community. A letter could be similar to the one I wrote (see below) or you could write your own letter. It can be as simple as stating that you support this call to action and will now be using reusable produce bags in place of plastic. You can ask them to sell and promote reusable bags as well. It can be that quick and that easy. We can possibly get theses groceries stores to respond to this call to action if they continue to receive more letters of request.
The approach I've taken is to develop relationships and trust with the managers of the stores. I have not been pushy.
This is not the cure-all and there is other work to be done to address plastic waste, but its a step. So, lets work with them one step at a time.
Get the young people involved. I always felt young people get a bad rap, but I know the power of youth after working with them for over 20 years. However, we all can do something.
If you haven't already, I encourage you to purchase and start using your own reusable shopping and produce bags, and eliminate your plastic bag use forever! A link is at the bottom of this page on where you can purchase them.
June 30, 2017
My name is Thuy Smith and I have been a customer since 2014. I love everything you do from the quality food (including organics) and products you offer, the excellent customer service you provide, the bulk section variety and that you have a plastic bag recycling bin. I am definitely a fan for all these reasons.
I have been on a journey for the last five years in downsizing and simplifying my life. This would include also reducing my waste and living a more sustainable life. I already bring in my own tote bags when I shop and have also purchased my own reusable produce bags. I have not used one plastic produce bag since March of 2017. Although my reusable produce bags come with the tare weight written on them, the people in back of me have to wait longer in line while the cashier tries to figure out how to deduct the tare weight.
I want to continue to shop with my reusable produce bags and these bags are becoming more popular. In fact, I have a website, blog, and other social media promoting these bags and other sustainable lifestyle changes.
I know there is the option for people to save their plastic bags and bring them back to your store's drop-off bin. Unfortunately, not everyone does this. Other stores are already providing paper bags or boxes in place of plastic. I’ve been talking to businesses about selling and promoting reusable produce bags. I think it would be another selling point for customers who are already environmentally conscious or beginning to move in this direction.
Here are some thoughts:
· Sell re-usable produce bags and then display them throughout your store with signage that would promote them and the environmental benefit.
· Maybe offer a discount like stores do when people bring in their own bags.
· Highlight this option and information on your company's website.
· Make it an ongoing campaign (and part of your brand) to appeal to your customers to go completely plastic free
· Train your employees on how to account for and deduct tare weight (for all tare weights) in a very simple comprehensible application.
· Send out a press release on how you are making these new changes
Thank you for taking the time to review my letter. I hope you will consider these changes. I also would look forward to hearing from you about your thoughts on this matter. My contact information is listed above and I also included my card.
Three types of produce bags to choose from
Two bags are a lighter mesh bag and I prefer them the most. The other bag is cotton and still a good option as long as the cashiers at your grocery store know how to account for tare weights since they are of a heavier fabric. Tare weights are what the weight of the actual bags are and usually the tare weights are on the bags already. This is important so you are not paying for the weight of the bag, only the produce. It may not be much and won't even be an issue for you. If the produce or other items are not sold by weight, then any of the bags can be used since the tare weight wouldn't matter at that point. To keep the bags clean, just rinse them out or throw them in the wash when needed.
To keep your lettuce and other leafy greens fresh once you get home, you can place them in either Ziploc freezer bags that you can continue to reuse, or you can store them in other containers. You do not want to keep these particular produce items in your reusable mesh or cotton produce bags. They will dry out if you do.
Here is the link to Amazon for some light weight mesh or cotton bags.
Natural Grocers, New Seasons' Market and Chuck's Produce also carry them.
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