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Retail stores should jump on the plastic-free bandwagon

Retail stores should jump on the plastic-free bandwagon

Retail stores should jump on the plastic-free bandwagon
February 12
09:00 2020

Reusable bags have not been a new concept when it comes to options for substituting plastic bags while shopping. There has been an overwhelming amount of pressure from the public to incorporate environmentally friendly substitutes to many every day items like plastic bags, straws and containers. The concept is not new but unfortunately not many retailers are taking note.

There have been many stores that offer reusable totes for those consumers that do prefer to shop with the environment in mind. Although it is an option to purchase a reusable bag, many stores do not 100 percent enforce reusable bags.

However, there are a few companies and retailers that have decided to say goodbye to plastic bags all together. For instance, The Disney Stores have completely stopped producing plastic bags and only offer reusable bags for a price if a costumer really wants one. If the costumer has forgotten their bag and does not want to purchase one for less than a dollar, they are encouraged to just walk out with their product in hand or use another retailers bag to store their new purchase. This might sound wild, but the Disney staff already have a system in place internally to figure out if a person who is walking out with items in hand are shoplifting or just decided to opt-out of a bag.

The grocery store Aldi has also gone this route but has done it for years now. Shopping at Aldi means you must be prepared to bring your own bags or prepare to purchase one or walk out with your egg create in hand. Aldi prides itself for this system, explaining that this system results in a cheaper shopping experience for their costumers and it also doesn’t hurt that this system helps the environment.

This system seems to be working, but why aren’t more retailers involved in this way of selling? It is possible that some companies fear of inconveniencing their customers and losing them in the end over a bag? The fear of losing customers because of a bag seems unlikely, especially if more stores were to take that initiative.

Sacking plastic bags has also been valuable to retailers that have taken this route. By not providing plastic bags, retailers are saving money for their company since they don’t have to purchase cases of bags for all their stores anymore. That price adds up when companies that have over 100 stores need to purchase cases of bags regularly to maintain their supply.

There have been some states and cities that have adopted a tax to reduce the use of plastic bags but that does not seem to go as well as many would like. A tax of five to 10 cents as a small add on might not seem like much to many shoppers, but some can ignore it and instead opt to get a plastic bag instead but end up throwing it away anyway.

Dallas had an ordinance in place for a plastic bag tax but that quickly ended when many residents expressed their disapproval and several plastic bag manufactures sued the city. Instead of putting their foot down, the city quickly ended the ordinance and business went on as usual, resulting in zero results to show from the already minimal effort from the city.

Many countries have already banned the use of plastic bags all together. Thirty-two countries have banned plastic bags and in the United States only two states have banned plastic. If countries are banning plastic all together, it is not impossible to do so in the United States.

Retailers and grocery stores could benefit from getting rid of plastic bags all together. Not only would companies save money from the disposal of plastic bags, they would be doing a great service to the poor quality that our environment is in.

Featured Illustration: Olivia Varnell

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Ofelia Hernandez

Ofelia Hernandez

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