Tuesday, January 12, 2010

are you a good bag, or a bad bag?

Intriguing! Walmart is currently doing reusable bag testing in a select number of their stores, where you are REQUIRED to purchase a reusable bag (or bring your own!) View the video here (embedding has been unfortunately disabled!) Then come on back. Don't worry, I'll wait. I have a cup of hot tea and some mint M&Ms to keep me busy til you get back...

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So, what do you think? Personally, I think it's a great idea (to a point!) If people won't do it on their own (and we all know the majority of Americans. They don't do anything unless they're made to! Wait, did I just say that?) than just make them buy the bags. My only problem with this "solution" is something people don't always keep in mind. Reusable bags can become just as much of a problem as plastic bags, if the situation isn't kept in check. If someone went to Walmart and bought a new set of reusable bags every time, well, that's just wasteful. And landfill-ful, after a while, too. I have seven reusable tote bags. Six regular size, one oversized for big purchases. And that's it. That's all I need. I resist (most) urges to take more, when they're given to me (unless they're method totes! Then I just grab! Ha ha!)

But I remember when I first starting doing the reusable totes thing, it was hard at times for me to remember my bags, also. Now I ended up carrying the items out in my arms, bagless. Sort of a "punishment" to remind me to bring my bags with me next time. But I can see how after a while people might either get frustrated from having to buy them multiple times, and that will help them remember; or they'll just finally get into the habit.

What I'm NOT a fan of is Walmart's low-end cheap reusable bag "that will tear after a while." They're completely missing the entire point! But then Walmart equaling cheap? Who would have guessed! Ahem... But hopefully they're on the right track, and people will catch on with time.

Thoughts?

8 comments:

Hollywood Justin said...

I think we are going to see more and more of this. IKEA (at least here in Los Angeles) stopped giving out bags a while ago. You have to pay for them, buy a reusable one or bring one. My biggest pet peeve with reuseable bags right now is with Subway Sandwiches. They sell a reuseable bag BUT it comes in a sealed plastic bag!!! It drives me crazy!!! I'm going to email them right now actually! :)

Nathan Aaron said...

LOL I agree! Manufacturers just DON'T get it sometimes. I grow weary of people, and companies, just NOT thinking things through due to sheer laziness or "that's how it's always been done-ness".

What also annoys me about Subway is that whole take your sandwich in a plastic bag, to your table, and throw it away. SUCH a waste. I think everyone should be asked if they want a plastic bag for their sandwich at Subway. I ALWAYS tell them no plastic bag and I've finally gotten a couple of them "trained" so when I get to the register they just hand me the sandwich in the wrapped paper. Not only could they be saving the environment, but imagine how much money they'd save if they just started asking people if they really needed a bag.

melanemac said...

What is interesting is that Whole Foods sells reusable bags that are made out of the oil-cloth (or similar) that is very durable AND the kicker is that they are cheaper than the cheap ones at other stores like Walmart.

I don't think it will work at Walmart...that's the wrong market to try to enforce.

Nathan Aaron said...

BUT, if you can't get to people like Walmart shoppers (who sadly, at least in my opinion, are the "majority" - sigh) then I think the whole thing is doomed.

Helping the environment/Mother Nature/going green has to become much bigger than just a niche group. The "everyday" person has to do this. And with that in mind, everyone has a LONG way to go! LOL

Sprockets said...

I'd like to see some stores, like supermarkets, try loaner bags. Pay $1 for a reusable bag, and get the $1 back when you return it. That's better when you forget your reusable bag that buying another bag, or using disposable bags. I imagine a lot of stores won't want to deal with keeping track and reimbursing for the loaner bags though...

Rhonda said...

I like what ikea does- charges 5 cents for a bag if you don't bring one or buy a reuseable. It might be good if Walmart tried that to start with that instead of making people buy their tote. The problem is it is "mainstream america" and many people do buy their groceries there- if they had to pay for each bag it might make them start getting with the program.
Target is supposed to give you a five cents credit for each reusable that you use- but the clerks don't seem to be trained to always give that credit. Whole foods gives you 10 cents for reusing their bags or your own. The one by me also has a place you can bring back the bags if you feel guilty...

Nathan Aaron said...

I haven't had too much problem with Target. It seems like every time I purchase something there now, they remember the five cents off discount (though when they first started that wasn't always the case.) I'm also not afraid to ask for it, if they forget, either. LOL

stephanie j. said...

I'm a bit wordy this morning, I apologize in advance.

First of all, the majority of products sold at Walmart are packaging heavy. Honestly, what are they accomplishing? Not much. It cracks me up to see people haul out their reusable bags while the conveyor belt is loaded up with wasted packaging of plastic, paper and junk.

Secondly, I have a fundamental aversion to forcing anyone to pay for something...we still live in a free market economy. I believe that the free market will prove out in the end that being careful with resources is the best thing...but we can't force it.

I like the incentive offer the best -- a discount for bringing you own. I also save every stinkin' plastic grocery sack we get. I use them as garbage bag liners, use them to haul books to the used book store, as shipping stuffing for items that I am sending (instead of peanuts), keep them in a box in the trunk to re-use at grocery stores...I'm re-using them. They are already in existence so why not use them up?

Finally, why does EVERY store need to have their own bag? That is SOOOO wasteful of resources in itself -- maybe I'm skeptical about their motives. I believe it is just a marketing ploy making people feel like they are doing something good.

I haul my Method tote EVERYWHERE. It's finally starting to wear out after 3 years. We load it up at the library, grocery store, haul stuff to play dates, etc.

JM2C

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