MA Supermarkets See Major Reduction in Disposable Shopping Bags

Posted by jcashman

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and the Massachusetts Food Association (MFA) today announced that a joint initiative with the grocery and supermarket industry to reduce the number of disposable paper and plastic shopping bags distributed in Massachusetts has achieved excellent results during the first three years – a reduction of 33 percent since 2007.

“A 33 percent reduction in the use of disposable plastic and paper bags is impressive, and I applaud the public-private partnership that helped to make it possible,” Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. said. “I want to thank the grocery stores and supermarkets for working with MassDEP to reduce disposable bag use, and the public for responding to their efforts.”

As part of the voluntary initiative, 12 supermarket chains, comprised of 384 stores representing more than two-thirds of the industry in Massachusetts, have been participating in the effort by tracking annual paper and plastic bag usage. Participating chains reported a 33 percent reduction in disposable bag distribution in Massachusetts since 2007. The goal of the initiative is a reduction of at least 33 percent by 2013.

“A key MassDEP priority is to minimize the waste stream, and reducing the use of disposable bags by 33 percent is a great step forward,” MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth L. Kimmell said. “Having met the initial goal two years early does not mean an end to the effort. Consumers are obviously adopting new behaviors and we hope to see continued reduction in the future.”

“On behalf our supermarket and grocery store members, MFA applauds the results of the joint initiative that the industry and MassDEP officially launched in March of 2009,” MFA President Christopher Flynn said. “By achieving a 33 percent reduction in the use of disposable paper and plastic bags by using an incentive-based, voluntary approach, we have shown that a balance between environmental stewardship and consumer choice can achieve significant results. We look forward to continuing our work with the state to build upon this success and further reduce the reliance on disposable bags in our stores.”

Each supermarket chain has implemented steps to encourage using less disposable bags, including training staff to reduce wasteful distribution of bags, offering reusable bags for sale, providing cash incentives for reusable bag use, accepting used plastic bags for recycling and posting instructional signs reminding patrons not to forget to bring their reusable bags.

In addition to the industry working to reduce the distribution of disposable shopping bags, MassDEP has created a consumer brochure entitled Sack the Bag that encourages shoppers to use fewer disposable bags. Access the brochure here:

Participating grocery chains include: Big Y Supermarkets, Crosby’s, DeMoulas Market Basket, Donelan’s, Foodmaster, Hannaford Bros., Price Chopper, PriceRite, Roche Bros., Shaw’s Supermarkets, The Stop & Shop Supermarket Co., and Trucchi’s.

MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills, and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.


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Posted by jcashman on Nov 18 2011. Filed under Business. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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