Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Recycling Plastic Bags and Flexible Plastics at Whole Foods

My local Whole Foods recently started offering medium-sized paper bags in its produce section, accompanied by a sign suggesting that shoppers place their fruits and vegetables in paper, not the plastic bags ubiquitous in supermarkets (and still present at Whole Foods).

This seems a logical step for the company; it curtailed the use of plastic bags at checkout several years ago and offers shoppers a $0.10 credit for using their own bag.


In addition, Whole Foods (and a handful of other stores) takes back used—but clean—flexible plastic (bags, wrap, bubble wrap, etc.) for recycling, a great service since the majority of municipal recycling programs do not.

When I learned of this two years ago, I began warehousing my plastics for eventual return to Whole Foods. It was eye opening to witness how quickly the plastic accumulated: bags or wrap for fruits, vegetables, pasta, bread, sugar, chocolate chips, toilet paper and sponges, to name just a few. The list, unfortunately, seems endless.


Does anyone else return these plastics to accepting stores?

8 comments:

J Koes said...

I'm living in Moscow, Russia at the moment, and i was amazed to see The ABC of Taste, a local chain of supermarkets comparable to Whole Foods replace their (free) plastic bags with biodegradable polypropylene ones. Moscow doesn't have any recycling programs whatsoever (energy-saving bulbs being the only exception) so it's really quite a breakthrough for a big retailer to switch to greener bags. i wish they started accepting plastic bottles and glass though. i spent a few months in Canada last year, and one thing i really miss (don't laugh!) is sorting waste.

Chef Rob said...

J Koes - Thanks for the info; pretty surprising about Moscow not having a recycling program.

sabkon wells said...

hi. i think such steps are necessary to motivate recycling for conserving the planet. thanks for sharing the blog . will be looking up for more updates..

Recycling Plastic Containers

Logan J. Skew said...

Plastics harm the fruits and vegetables stored in them. Its really necessary to store them in paper or glass things

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Anonymous said...

WF and some other markets claim to recycle plastic bags but to my knowledge, they still go to landfill. At least in San Francisco, they send collected bags to the local refuse company - Recology. I called Recology and they confirmed that they don't have a way to recycle them and that they do in fact go to landfill.

Have you learned otherwise? I am really curious. Also curious why stores would collect them, claim they are to be recycled, and then pay to send them to landfill. I have a call into WF corporate.

Khaela said...

They'd do it to get you to come to their store.

john smith said...

intends ultimate phase out of all kinds of plastic bags, eases discards collection mechanisms and recycling. Corrugated Plastic Sign

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