Local Whole Foods stores will do away with plastic grocery bags by March 1, but other local grocery chains will continue to offer plastic bags for the time being.
‘Paper or plastic?” will remain an option for shoppers at most local grocery stores for now. Despite Whole Foods Market’s plan to eliminate all plastic bags at its checkout lines as soon as Saturday, other grocery chains say they have no immediate plans to do away with plastic.
Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. will continue to offer plastic bags, spokesman Robert Keane said. The Quincy chain offers the choice of reusable bags and provides recycling bins in its stores to allow customers to drop off plastic bags, Keane said.
The collected bags are recycled along with the plastic used to wrap shipping palettes. Keane said the company recycles 100 tons of plastic a year.
Shaw’s Supermarkets of West Bridgewater also sells reusable cloth bags for $1, but will continue to offer paper and plastic bags, spokeswoman Judy Chong said.
Hannaford Bros. of Scarborough, Maine, is studying the experience of its Belgian parent company, Delhaize Group, which dropped plastic bags last summer, Hannaford spokeswoman Caren Epstein said.
Whole Foods of Austin, Texas, revealed in January that it would remove disposable plastic bags from its 270 stores by Earth Day on April 22 in a nod toward environmentalists’ concerns about the nonbiodegradable items. San Francisco became the first major city to ban plastic grocery bags in 2007, and officials in other cities, including Boston, have debated similar bans.
Whole Foods also has encouraged shoppers to bring their own bags on shopping trips by offering refunds of as much as 10 cents per bag.
A.C. Gallo, Whole Foods’ co-president and chief operating officer, said last month that the decision acknowledged concerns about plastics bags accumulating in landfills and clogging waterways, harming wildlife and generating roadside litter.
Whole Foods estimates its new policy will keep 100 million plastic bags out of the waste stream by year’s end.
In January, Whole Foods stores began reducing their stocks of plastic bags and notifying customers about the impending changeover.
All stores in the Boston area will go plastic bag-free by Saturday, said Christina Barber, marketing team leader for Whole Foods’ Hingham store. Signs publicizing the “Countdown to Zero Plastic” are prominently displayed in stores.
“Now that we’ve got a date, it’s made it more real for people, and the feedback has been really positive,” Barber said.
Steve Adams may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.