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CCE PRESS CENTER

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release:
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
For more information contact:
Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director, 516-390-7150, 631-384-1378 (mobile), aesposito@citizenscampaign.org
Matt Wallach, Program Coordinator, 914-358-9840, 516-816-1718 (mobile), mwallach@citizenscampaign.org

CCE RELEASES FIRST REPORT CARD ON REUSABLE BAG POLICIES FOR WESTCHESTER GROCERY STORES

Grades Range from A+ to D CCE calls on Westchester grocery stores to do their part to “Go Green” and protect our environment!

White Plains, NY — Today, CCE releases the report: “B.Y.O.B (Bring Your Own Bag): Reusable Bag Policies at Westchester County Grocery Stores.” CCE staff analyzed and evaluated reusable bag policies of ten Westchester grocery store chains. Grades range from A+ to D. Topping the list is Whole Foods and Stop and Shop both receiving an A+, while Walmart only received a grade of D. Stores were graded on sale and promotion of reusable bags, signage outside of the store to remind consumers to bring bags, monetary incentives, educating employees, and on their willingness to engage in consumer education on reusable bags.

“Consumers have helped create the problem of disposable bags and now we need them to help solve the problem,” said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, “We need grocery stores to implement policies that encourage the public to make the switch to reusable bags. We believe that a partnership of massive public education and leadership from grocery stores can be significantly effective in reducing this unnecessary plastic and disposable bag use.”

The Report is designed to educate both businesses and the public on the dangers of using disposable bags, which litter beaches, parks, highways, playgrounds and landscapes, as well as result in clogging storm drains, polluting our oceans, bays, and estuaries, and kill wildlife.

“The addiction to disposable bags is unsustainable and unnecessary and supermarkets need to take action,” said Matt Wallach, Program Coordinator, Citizens Campaign of the Environment. “The policies that are highlighted in this report are a great first step in the public educational process. The ultimate goal is for customers to say no to disposable bags once and for all.”

Highlights:

  • Whole Foods Market offered the largest monetary incentive for bringing your own bag- a ten cent rebate per bag.
  • Stop & Shop deducts five cents from each customer's total shopping bill for any shopping bag they bring from home for packaging their groceries - whether it's a paper, plastic or reusable bag.
  • Stop & Shop and Stew Leonards were the only stores that had extensive signage in parking lots and outside stores to remind shoppers to grab their bags from their car.
  • ShopRite has a creative incentive for bringing your own bag – offering a 5 cent rebate for a reusable bag and a 2 cent rebate for reusing a plastic bag.
  • Walmart and Whole Foods are the only stores that sell reusable bags for less than 99 cents.
  • All stores, with the exception of A&P and Trader Joe’s, support education programs that encourage consumers to increase usage of reusable bags over disposable bags.

“Every store can implement easy changes that encourage and remind consumers to BYOB. Reducing harmful disposable bags and increasing the use of reusable bags is good for the environment and saves consumers money. We are looking forward to stores learning from each other and adopting more environmentally friendly reusable bag policies in the near future,” added Matt Wallach.

This report is part of a larger educational project to encourage members of the public to BYOB in Westchester County. CCE has been asking consumers and businesses to pledge to reduce harmful disposable bags. To date 27 businesses and 301 consumers have taken pledges.
For a copy of the full report go to www.citizenscampaign.org which will be available Tuesday June 28 at 12 noon. CCE is grateful to the Westchester Community Foundation for funding this project.

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Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) empowers communities and advocates solutions for our shared environment and public health and is supported by over 80,000 members throughout New York State and Connecticut. www.citizenscampaign.org

updated by mwallach  6/27/11