Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | News | Local News | Contact Us | Home RSS
 
 
 

The price of plastic

Price Chopper joins Hannaford in charging for grocery bags

January 18, 2019
By ANDY FLYNN - Editor (aflynn@lakeplacidnews.com) , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - Both major supermarkets in this village are now charging customers to take home grocery bags.

Price Chopper began charging 5 cents per single-use plastic or paper bag on Jan. 1, joining Hannaford, which began charging the same price per bag on Oct. 1. Price Chopper customers will also pay 10 cents for each handled paper bag.

"Both plastic and paper bags are disposable and detrimental to the environment," said Mona Golub, Price Chopper's vice president of public relations and consumer services, in a press release. "We took action back in October 2018, when we erected signage in our Lake Placid store announcing our intent to stop handing out free disposable bags on January 1, 2019."

Article Photos

Groceries from Price Chopper sit on a kitchen counter.
(News photo — Andy Flynn)

Similar notices were posted at the Price Chopper in Brattleboro, Vermont, before that store began charging for bags in October.

"We will continue to offer a 3 cent per bag rebate for each and every bag/box/tote that comes into our store for reuse and to discount heavy duty reusable bags in an effort to help the community transition forward. Our follow through is intended to drive results toward non-disposable solutions," Golub said.

"Billions of plastic bags are used in the U.S. each year, with less than 5 percent being recycled and large amounts being swept into rivers and streams and ultimately the ocean," said Judith Enck, former EPA Regional Administrator and Visiting Professor at Bennington College, in the press release. "While stopping the use of plastic bags is key, it is imperative that consumers shift from disposable to reusable bags. Price Chopper's innovative and effective approach will encourage this shift. It is easy for consumers, once they start getting in the habit of bringing their own bags."

The move to ban or tax single-use plastic bags will require the public to change their behavior. Price Chopper and Hannaford promote the use of heavy-duty reusable bags.

"Behavioral change is a challenge in this convenience-driven era, but the prospect of retail, government, consumers and environmental advocates working together to diminish the production, distribution and disposal of bag waste has great merit, now and into the future," Golub said. "Price Chopper/Market 32 fully supports this effort and is committed to investing our resources in changing the way we purchase, stock, distribute, promote, sign and pack reusables in an effort to help our customers transition to whichever long-term solution best suits them."

In September, Hannaford spokesperson Eric Bloom said that the single-use plastic bags have a cost, both financially and environmentally, telling the News, "Hannaford has always been a leader in sustainability. There are a number of stores where municipal laws limit paper and plastic bags. In the past few years, we've seen a dramatic increase in reusable bags among customers."

Hannaford gives a portion of the 5 cents for paper and plastic bags to local charities and organizations in the Lake Placid area. It sells reusable bags for 50 cents and other "cause bags" where $1 of the proceeds goes toward local charities.

The Aldi supermarket chain, with one store locally in Saranac Lake, has long been a plastic-bag-free zone, requiring customers to pack their groceries in provided cardboard boxes or reusable bags.

---

Growing movement across the globe

Bag fees and plastic bans are sweeping the United States and nations abroad. More than 300 municipalities in the U.S. have, in some way, banned or taxed plastic bag use, and the number continues to grow.

Examples in New York state include the community of Sag Harbor on Long Island, which has a villagewide ban on plastic bags, and New York City, which has a citywide 5-cent fee on plastic bags.

Even Gov. Andrew Cuomo is adopting the movement, announcing Tuesday, Jan. 15, during his 2019-2020 budget address that he would like to see a ban on single-use plastic bags given to customers. That proposal was defeated in 2018 by the then-Republican-controlled Senate.

On Wednesday, Adirondack Mountain Club officials applauded the governor for his stance on plastic bags and the expansion of the Bottle Bill, which would include almost all non-alcoholic containers.

"Plastic bags have an unnecessary impact on the environment," ADK Executive Director Neil Woodworth said in a statement. "Birds, fish, and other aquatic species mistake plastic bag litter for food ingesting this toxic debris which causes sickness or death in tens of thousands of animals. The toxins are also transferred through the food chain to larger species. Plastic bags take many years to decompose so they become persistent debris on our public lands and in our waterways. Governor Cuomo's plastic bag ban is a necessary step in changing the behavior of individuals and businesses to stop this completely avoidable environmental impact."

California became the first state to ban single-use plastic bags at large retail stores. It also requires a 10-cent minimum charge for recycled paper bags, reusable plastic bags and compostable bags at some locations.

Yet the war on plastic bags is not only being waged on the municipal level; private companies, such as Price Chopper and Hannaford, are deciding to ban or charge for the bags on their own.

"With patchwork legislation being discussed all around us, though seldom passed, we decided to take a stand and exercise prudence in moving the issue forward, ourselves," Golub said.

In Australia, the nation's two largest supermarket companies chose to ban single-use plastic bags at their stores in July 2018. That coincided with a statewide ban in Queensland. In the first three months, those decisions led to the elimination of 1.5 billion single-use plastic bags, according to Australia's National Retail Association. That's a drop in usage of 80 percent.

 
 

 

I am looking for:
in:
News, Blogs & Events Web