Empowering Communities, Advocating Solutions


Source: Port Washington Patch

Supermarkets Rated on Reusable Bag Practices

High marks for Stop & Shop, not so for King Kullen and Uncle Guiseppe's


Posted: August 9, 2010
Originally Published: August 9, 2010

Image of CCE's Adrienne Esposito and Michelle Consorte with Stop & Shop’s James McGinn.

Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, (center) is joined by Stop & Shop’s James McGinn, (right) and CCE intern Michelle Consorte, (left) as she discusses the findings of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment’s first Long Island Grocery Store Report Card on Reusable Bag Policies. Fourteen Long Island supermarkets were surveyed, Stop & Shop received an A+. Stores were graded on sale and promotion of reusable bags, signage within the store and in parking lots to remind consumers to bring bags, monetary incentives, educating employees, and on their willingness to engage in consumer education on reusable bags. Credit Stop & Shop

A Long Island nonprofit group has released a report grading local supermarkets like Stop & Shop, King Kullen and Whole Foods on their reusable bag practices and policies.

In a report released Thursday, Citizens Campaign for the Environment gave Stop & Shop an A-plus grade but gave King Kullen and Uncle Giuseppe's each an F.

The report points out that plastic bags often wind up in bays, estuaries and oceans, harming or even killing fish and wildlife. That's because some animals ingest the bags, mistaking them for food, while others become entangled by bags, which can lead to strangulation or hamper their mobility.

Located directly across Manhasset Bay, Stop & Shop scored well based on its availability of reusable shopping bags, its signage in stores and parking lots reminding customers to use them, and its offering of a five cent credit per reusable bag customers use at checkout lines.

"Stop & Shop has long taken a proactive approach to working with federal, state and local officials to support efforts that will make a real difference in this area," said Faith Weiner, director of public affairs for Stop & Shop.

Just blocks away, King Kullen won marks for selling reusable bags and providing plastic bag recycling bins. Yet the supermarket ultimately scored low for not offering credit when customers reuse shopping bags, and for not posting signs in its windows and parking lots to remind shoppers to bring in their reusable bags into the store. King Kullen responded to the report in a statement released Thursday.

"King Kullen encourages all customers to recycle their plastic bags by bringing them right back to the store and depositing them in the recycling bins," said King Kullen Vice President Thomas Cullen. "We also hope King Kullen shoppers will purchase the reusable bags we've made available at every store — but that is the customer's decision. We believe in offering a choice."

Uncle Giuseppe's scored points for selling reusable bags. Still, the store fared poorly for not crediting consumers for their reusable bags and for not posting signs in their windows and parking grounds.

A company spokeswoman said certain factors were not taken into account in the report. "Uncle Giuseppe's sells reusable shopping bags in all four of our stores so that customers who want to avoid using plastic bags have an environmentally-friendly alternative," noted Arielle Brechisci, an information specialist at the store. "Last month, Uncle Giuseppe's gave away 2,500 free reusable shopping bags at the Long Island Ducks stadium. At this time, we believe the methodology used to determine our score is questionable. When we reexamined our scores, we found incorrect math. We were also penalized in our scores for not getting back to them right away. We were in the middle of opening our Port Jefferson location and could not get back to them that soon."

Like Stop & Shop, Whole Foods, scored an A-plus, particularly for crediting consumers 10 cents for each reusable bag they use.

The report assessed supermarkets on nine criteria, including availability and cost of reusable shopping bags, signage in stores, windows and parking lots, discounts for reusing bags, cashier training, and willingness to participate in the consumer study.

"Grocery stores have helped create the problem of disposable bags and now we need them to help solve this problem," said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. "We hope all stores use this report as an opportunity to implement policies that encourage consumers to make the switch to reusable bags."