Roanoke Co+op announces the natural foods retailer will no longer offer single use plastic shopping bags at the registers after August 31, 2019. The co-op has long been an advocate for environmental stewardship in the Roanoke Valley and views the move as a natural progression toward being even more eco-conscious.
Many shoppers already bring their own bags to the register at the co-op and paper bags will still be available. Roanoke Co+op has also replaced plastic drinking straws with paper ones in their stores and durable paper bags are provided in the produce and bulk departments as an alternative to single use plastic bags. More positive changes are in the works.
“We are committed to reducing single use plastic in our stores. Some eco-friendly alternatives are currently available while others will take some time to develop,” says general manager, Bruce Phlegar. “This is a new era in our city, shoppers are concerned about the vast amounts of plastic that end up in our landfills or in our world’s rivers and oceans. In response, many of our shoppers are saying they don’t need a bag at all because they brought their own.”
Roanoke Co+op has promoted BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag) since 2010 with its Change! for the Community program. When customers bring their own bag to the co-op, or don’t use a bag at all, Roanoke Co+op donates $.05 to the featured local organizations of the month. Over the years, co-op shoppers have saved over 865,000 bags from entering the waste stream, while contributing over $45k to local organizations. Shoppers can also ‘round up’ their change at the register through the Change! program, which has raised over $142k for local organizations, to date.
“EPA research showed us that one plastic bag can take 1,000 years to decompose. That’s a long time for something to hang around that may have been used for just 15 minutes,” says Phlegar. “It’s time we all work together to reduce our dependency on single use plastic”
On Saturday July 6th, to celebrate the announcement and International Co-op Day, Roanoke Co+op will be giving away FREE reusable bags to the first 250 shoppers.