Feb 172008
Authors: Shannon Hurley

Whole Foods Market announced last month it will end its use of plastic bags at checkouts, pledging to be rid of the disposables by Earth Day, April 22, 2008.

Robin Burton, Whole Food’s Green Mission Coordinator for the Rocky Mountain region, believes the consequences of plastic bag use are ecologically unwise and unnecessary.

“It’s a pretty significant impact, both in avoiding the use of natural resources and also in not putting these insidious plastic bags out into the environment” said Burton.

“We’ve estimated that from Earth Day of this year to the end of the calendar year, we would have given out 100 million plastic grocery bags, and it takes about 430 gallons of crude oil to make that number of plastic bags.”

The natural grocer sells numerous types of reusable bags, offers 100% recycled paper bags, and encourages consumers to bring their own in order to reduce their footprint on the environment.

In the Rocky Mountain region, stores offer a $0.10 bag credit per reusable bag for shoppers.

“Consumers have the choice of whether to have the credit deducted from their bill or to donate it to the Small Change Adds Up program,” said Burton.

The Fort Collins location is currently partnered with the Poudre High School Environmental Club, and will provide a 50% match of the bag credit donations at the end of the quarter.

“I think it’s great that we’ll get this word out to students,” said Burton, “I think there’s a real heightened awareness about environmental concerns.”

Whole Foods Market will become the first national grocery chain to completely do away with plastic bag use in all of its 270 stores in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.

Staff writer Shannon Hurley can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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