Albertson's grocery chain announced earlier this year that two of their stores in California were going bagless - no more plastic or paper disposable bags, only reusable bags would be offered! It kicked off for Earth Day and featured reusable bag giveaways to get the community more free bags in circulation. If you forget your bag you can simply carry your items out or purchase a reusable bag for as low as $.49.
This is not big news as many media outlets have covered the story but I finally got a chance to vist one of the stores myself during a recent trip to Carpinteria on a June gloom day. The first thing I noticed was a bunch of reminder signs in the parking lot - a final mental trigger to grab those reusable bags from the trunk or your back seat. Very nice. I did not notice more or less trash nearby but I was only there for a short stop. I was a bit bummed to see the store next door stocked up with pallets of double shrink wrapped water bottles, but that's besides the point of Albertson's kicking butt with this pilot project.
I spoke with the manager on duty who said the response has been great. She stated there were very few complaints and store sales were up a little bit since before going bagless. There's no official causation between going bagless and increased sales but it's good to see there are no negative impacts off the bat. Cheers to Albertson's, this is a great way to Rise Above Plastics and lead by example. Now, Surfrider suggests you roll it out to more stores!