Thursday, April 17, 2008

Whole Foods 'bagging' Earth Day

Whole Foods Market, the world’s biggest natural and organic foods supermarket, is celebrating Earth Month and the stores’ elimination of plastic grocery bags on Earth Day by donating 10 cents for every reusable grocery bag that customers bring in on April 22 to Alabama Rivers Alliance, a non-profit organization created to protect and restore state rivers through water quality and quantity policy advocacy, restoration planning, grassroots organizing, and watershed education in order to achieve clean and healthy watershed ecosystems, healthy people, strong economies, and a functioning democratic system of government in Alabama.

The Company announced in January that it would end the use of disposable plastic grocery bags at the checkouts in all of its 270 stores in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. to be plastic bag-free by Earth Day, April 22.

The first U.S. supermarket to commit to completely eliminating disposable plastic grocery bags to help protect the environment and conserve resources, Whole Foods Market has encouraged shoppers to bring their own bags for years by offering a refund of either five cents at the checkout, but upped the ante to 10 cents when they made the bag free announcement. Now, in celebration, the stores are hoping to inspire shoppers to adopt a reusable mindset as well by donating these refunds to a local green charity. On April 22, all Whole Foods Market Team Members will also be participating in a “green out” to celebrate the stores’ “bag out” by donning green attire in honor of Earth Day.

Beginning in January, each store in the company began depleting stocks of disposable plastic grocery bags and raised awareness about the benefits of reusable bags. Over the past three months, stores have reduced plastic grocery bag inventories and increased selections of reusable bags for purchase. Whole Foods Market sells different types of reusable bags, ranging from canvas to its new large, stylish “A Better Bag” — a sound environmental choice since 80 percent of its content comes from recycled plastic bottles and it is an economical choice as well since it costs only 99 cents.

Discontinuing disposable plastic grocery bags at the checkouts is another step in the Company’s ongoing effort to provide more Earth-friendly bags and containers in its stores.. Additionally, the Company continues to seek alternatives to plastic bags in its bulk, produce, bakery and seafood departments.