Thank You, Whole Foods

For making the decision to stop offering plastic bags.

Before you roll your eyes and scroll on to the next post in your reader, I understand that convenience frequently trumps ideals. When I learned that the majority of plastic items ever made still exist –including that headless Barbie I used to drag around or those plastic butterfly barrettes that were all the rage in 1977–I was shocked into pushing myself to be more aware of how much plastic I consume.

Also, consider that switching to reusable shopping bags is a relatively painless way to limit your consumption of plastic. I cannot tell you how many miles of highway we passed that were littered with all manner of plastic garbage, but the damn plastic bags by the sides of the road outnumbered tumbleweeds in many parts of the wide-open West. Even in areas you would expect some respect for wildlife, such as Everglades National Park, dirty plastic bags were more prevalent than egrets and herons.


24 responses to “Thank You, Whole Foods

  1. But what am I going to use to wrap our kiddo’s poopy spossie dipes in before throwing them into another plastic bag and then into the trash . . .

    okay, I am going to skulk away now appropriately shamed.

  2. (I-emailed Kelly, but I did this too. )

    The idea of Diaper Genie just struck me as….absurd.

    However I was so bowled over by the sheer volume of stupid plastic bags in the desert, the national parks and are strewn all along the highways here. I think even using the reusable shopping bags half the time is worth it.

    I wish I had taken pictures of the roadside garbage. Some states do not even bother picking it up, by the looks. Sad.

  3. I take plastic bags, cut them into strips and knit them into….plastic bags! the ones I knit are sturdy and reusable.

  4. Ok, I have to see pictures of these knitted plastic bags.

    I made my SIL forgo buying me a present this year and asked her to make me canvas shopping bags. I love them with all my being.

    I like how some grocery stores are getting on board, others are charging per bag – I’d like to see them charging $1.00 a bag with the proceeds going to WWF, that would make people stop and think about that extra 10 bucks they spent on bags.

  5. I love Flutter’s idea! We have plastic bags that I can’t bear to throw away all over the house – thinking that I will just find another use for them. It looks like I finally have 🙂

  6. San Francisco’s mayor tried to ban plastic bags….or put a surcharge on plastic bags the consumer would have to pay. Failed, of course. Too bad! Great that Whole Foods is doing this. About time, really.

  7. I bring my own cloth bags to the grocery store. However, I do use the plastic grocery store bags to line my garbage cans in the bathrooms and for cleaning the cat litter. It works out well because every once in a while I’ll forgot to bring my bags so I’ll wind up with more plastic ones from the grocery store. It’s better than having to buy garbage bags. It’s not like my trash cares.

  8. Good for Whole Foods. Plus canvas are easier to deal with IMO. I can take 2-3 bags of my own in and sort all my stuff in place of the 20 crappy plastic ones they would give me.

    I can’t believe how lazy we are as a society that this isn’t commonplace. Plus just the freaking oil to produce the plastic that we are wasting.

  9. Yes, the 20 plastic crappy bags. I am sure it is born out of customer’s complaining but do you really need to triple bag a lone box of Life cereal?

    And to Alex’s point about her trash, we reuse the ones we have in our bathroom bins too. I think that is great, but I also am really glad that companies are starting to consider doing away with them completely because the goddamn things never go away.

    I’m not exaggerating about how many we saw. Especially blowing across the desert and in/near bodies of water. It really disturbed me to think of how long they would be there, tangling animals and generally being a disgusting menace to the natural environment.

    I’m not trying to bust anyone’s ass—I’ll be honest. I could definitely improve in terms of environmental responsibility, but plastic bags are one thing that really has grabbed my attention.

  10. It is frightening how long plastic lasts. It’ll be cockroaches, Nile crocodiles and plastic after we finally go nuclear.

    Love Flutter’s idea!

    We try really hard to re-use any plastic bags we collect. You know, even though I have re-usable grocery sacks, all my fruits and veggies (the bulk of my grocery purchases) STILL go in those little plastic bags. It’s like it never ends.

  11. Wow, I’m not sure if our Whole Food is doing that yet, but that’s great!

  12. Flutter,

    Please Please PLEASE share your bag pattern!

    That is an awesome idea!

  13. Pingback:   Thank You, Whole Foods by

  14. I wholeheartedly agree (even though I’m too cheap to shop at Whole Foods). I have been taking canvas bags for a couple years, and before that I was re-using paper ones. It’s hardly any trouble now that I’ve gotten used to it, and I’m delighted not to have bags littering my home (never mind the highways and byways).

  15. I know the guy at my WF’s asked me today if I wanted paper or plastic so maybe it’s not instituted everywhere yet. I use reusable or paper and the few plastics I end up with do their reuse duty in the bathroom trashbins. I never did wrap poopy diapers – even when I had 2 in diapers at the same time (most of the last 8 years actually). We just chucked them into the regular trash.

    Oh we also use them through the preschool to put wet snowpants, mittens, etc in. They can do that a million times though so it takes 1-3 a winter.

  16. I went to visit someone recently in the local desert. It seemed every fence, every light pole, every joshua tree had a shredded plastic bag caught and blowing in the wind.

  17. The Whole Foods in the Midwest are going to eliminate plastic bags by Earth Day 2008, giving us a chance to get into the good habit of bringing our own bags (BYOB). I can’t wait for this revolution!
    Time to start hording for Re-Use.

  18. It takes away freedom of choice.

  19. CoolLikeMe: Whole Foods isn’t taking away “freedom of choice” — it’s there prerogative to choose what bags they will and won’t use.

    For the record, though, I think cities should put a surcharge on the damn things. And I’m for taking away certain freedoms of choice — such as the choice as to whether or not you can smoke in a grocery store, or the choice as to whether you can produce cars that get 12 miles per gallon.

    One thing to know about the plastic bag issue: the bags and tons (literal tons) of other refuse have gathered into an area in the Pacific ocean larger than Texas, which collects garbage because of how currents drag things there.

  20. D’oh! “Their” prerogative, not “there.”

  21. I have a bunch of cool bags. Two of them I got b/c of being a word of mouth marketing person for Method cleaners and Kashi foods. Another is an IKEA bag that I bought for 59 cents. The other two are really cool canvas bags with Egyptian hieroglyphic motifs.

    Except I always forget them whenever we go anywhere.

  22. James that is your opinion not mine. I like freedom of choice. Whole Foods needs to realize. That they are not the only store in the world. I am not trying to be mean. But I will never bring my own bag for groceries. I will shop some where else.

  23. Well, the nearest Whole Foods to us is over 4 hours away, so we don’t exactly get their often, but still, this is awesome.

    I’ve had “reusable shopping bags” on my shopping list for about ever now, but I still haven’t gotten them. I think you just provided the motivation I need to do it, considering tomorrow is payday.

    We do try to reuse the plastic bags we have – garbage bags for travel and little trash cans – but we still have a gazillion left. We’re trying to do what we can – we switched to cloth diapers a few months ago, don’t buy bottled water, go as much as we can without using the heat or air – but I know there is so much more we could, and should, do.

    And this is such a simple thing, really.

    And I totally know what you mean about how many you see on the roadsides. One day recently we sat in our backyard, and I watched the wind blow a bag from way across the street over our house and it was still going when I lost sight of it.

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