After careful research, Natural Grocers decided to stop offering both paper and plastic bags at our registers. New and recycled kraft paper bags are extraordinarily dirty products to make, requiring virgin wood pulp, toxic chemical treatments and large amounts of water to produce. Single use plastic bags have a much smaller environmental up-front footprint than paper, but decompose slowly, if ever, in the environment.
Remember: Bring Your Own Bag!
Our stores take in hundreds of cardboard shipping cases every day. At the same time, it seems everyone now owns several reusable shopping bags. So, we thought that the very best motivation for either bringing a reusable bag or taking a free recycled box would be to no longer offer single-use bags. After successfully trying out the concept in our store near the University of Denver in 2008, we launched this initiative company wide on Earth Day 2009. Overall, our customers have enthusiastically embraced the program. But don't worry, if you forget your own bags and really don't want to walk home with a box, we will find a loaner bag to make things easy. Yeah, we are not the bag police.
Biodegradable or degrading the environment? We ran across this environmental toxicity study that shows the dangers of Cobalt Stearate, one of the metals used to make plastic shopping bags magically become "oxobiodegradable" and thus supposedly more earth friendly. We don't think the earth worms would agree. In this study 100% of earthworms were killed after exposure to the residue from biodegraded plastic bags made with Cobalt Stearate. What's worse, this is the only study available of this substance, so makers can claim there are no "known" health risks to humans. Yep, no known risks. Not to be sarcastic, but maybe we should find out? Please, ask first if your "green" plastic bag contains this chemical.
Wash your hands well after reading.
Yuck. Plastic Bags.