Natural and organic grocer Whole Foods Market announced [Tuesday] it will stop using disposable plastic grocery bags at supermarket checkouts and encourage reusable bags instead.
The decision affects all of the company’s 270 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Whole Foods said its goal is to be plastic bag-free by Earth Day on April 22.
“Central to Whole Foods Market’s core values is caring for our communities and the environment, and this includes adopting wise environmental practices,” said A.C. Gallo, co-president and chief operating officer for Whole Foods Market.
Cities and countries are increasingly restricting single-use plastic shopping bags because they don’t break down in landfills and can clog waterways, endanger wildlife and litter roadsides, Gallo said.
He estimated that the move by Whole Foods will keep 100 million new plastic grocery bags out of the environment between Earth Day and the end of this year alone.
Before taking the step, Whole Foods tested doing away with disposable plastic bags in San Francisco, Toronto and Austin and saw positive customer response, Gallo said.
The grocery company will continue to offer 100-percent recycled paper grocery bags.
Every little bit helps, and this is more than a little bit. Between this and plastic bag recycling, I think grocery stores can make a big difference if they want to. May others follow Whole Foods’ lead. John has more.