Plastic Shopping Bags

Plastic Bags Galore!

C'mon people, you know you have WAY too many of these in your pantry, under your sink or in the closet.

Working in a retail setting has given me my most recent idea: Plastic Shopping Bags- I’m gunning for you!

Now that I got that out of my system, it occurred to me that when working at a cash register I usually ask people who are purchasing few items if they’d like a bag in addition to the questions cashiers are required to ask such as ‘Will you be putting that on your DIY Supercenter Credit Card?’ (which is a question I hate-as a customer I don’t think it’s any of the cashier’s business how I pay, as long as it’s an accepted form of payment and not Monopoly dollars) or ‘Did you find everything ok?’ (which I’m also not especially fond of because if they say no and ask me where something is I usually have no idea and want to say ‘They don’t let me leave this general vicinity…’)

Anyway, I started thinking to myself, if they can require me to ask the questions above, why not add one more question to this list- ‘Would you like me to put this in a bag?’ It would help the environment and maybe even encourage people to recycle their bags by either buying the reusable ones, or even reusing their old plastic bags. It also might serve as a reminder to forgetful people to bring their reusable bag with next time.

I’ve conducted a few experiments on customers purchasing one or two items. When I automatically put their items in a bag, 9 times out of 10 they would take the bag and say nothing. When I asked similar patrons if they wanted a bag for their one or two items 9 times out of 10 they said no, which saved bags from ending up in landfills and ultimately saved the company a teeny tiny amount of money. So even if the DIY Supercenter doesn’t care about saving the environment they may be interested in the cost savings.

I’m making up figures here, but let’s say they would use 20% less plastic bags each year across 3,000 stores (approx), that could potentially be a chunk of change… My next step, I just need to figure out how much plastic bags cost. I can’t imagine they are expensive, but in this economy what business isn’t interested in cutting costs?

Now, to prod management to see if anyone at DIY Supercenter would be interested in this idea (but that’s a whole different post for the future…)

5 Comments on “Plastic Shopping Bags”

  1. fdcarlso says:

    Awww… and here I thought you would have a brilliant idea on how I can get rid of the plastic bags I already have spilling out of every kitchen cabinet 🙂 Maybe this is a new career turn for you; making chain stores ecologically friendly!

    • ajgunter says:

      No, I’m not that brilliant… you tried to help me in science, you should know that!! Anyway, it’s a baby step to eventually not using plastic bags- which is good, right?!?! 🙂

  2. Harriet May says:

    Oh my gosh, I wish more people would think this way!! My biggest pet peeve when I’m grocery shopping is when the bagger puts ONE ITEM IN A BAG! Ugh I hate it I hate it. But I also don’t want to come across as rude (rearranging their packing after they’ve just done it and they’re staring right at me) so I try to catch them early and joke with them: “Oh, I’m not fussy! Just stuff the bags full!” In England there is a much bigger emphasis on taking your own bags and even reusing ordinary plastic shopping bags, which I’ve never really seen in America. Some shops in the UK even charge 5p for each bag to try and get you to use your own. I should use my own, and I keep meaning to… actually I think because of this post I will try to start buying one reusable bag each time I go to the store from now on until I have enough for an average grocery shop. 🙂

  3. david granneman says:

    Reusable cloth bags are not a good idea expecially when used for groceries. Most foods are covered in bacteria, expecially meats and fish. A cloth reuseable bag makes an ideal home for bacteria dripped from food products. Bacteria will accumulate and grow with continuous use and other products will become contaminated when placed in bag. To prevent bacterial the bags must be washed in hot water after each use.

    • ajgunter says:

      Dave- I hear ya, which is why I have washed my reusable bags in the washing machine and had no problem. Additionally- meat and fish are typically sealed in plastic wrap and a box, but that is a valid concern which is why, in addition to making sure your meat and fish are well wrapped you should wash your reusable bag.

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