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Source: Massapequa Patch

Environmental Group Sacks King Kullen

Supermarket receives failing grade on reusable bag policy.


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

A report by a local environmental group gives supermarket chain King Kullen a failing grade on their reusable bag practices and policies.

The survey by the Long Island based group Citizens Campaign for the Environment examined assigned letter grades to supermarkets based 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.

The report called the use of plastic bags, "harmful and completely unnecessary" saying that plastic bags often end up in ocean bays and estuaries, causing harm and even death to wildlife and marine life.

King Kullen, which has a store at 4938 Merrick Road, sells reusable bags and provides plastic bag recycling bins but received an "F" grade from the group because it does not offer a credit when customers reuse shopping bags, according to the report released Thursday.

But the supermarket chain insists they're environmentally friendly.

"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 company 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."

Waldbaums, which has locations on Hicksville Road and Sunrise Highway fared better on the survey, earning a B-plus grade, only receiving criticism for not having signs in the area around the store to remind customers to bring reusable bags. Pathmark was given a B-plus for the same reason.

Walmart, which has a location at the Westfield Sunrise Mall received a mediocre C-plus grade.

"Our focus is on how can we provide reusable bags to our customers at the lowest cost," Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg said. "Just like any product at Walmart, our goal is to be the low cost leader."

Whole Foods and Stop & Shop were the highest rated chains. Both stores received A-plus grades.

"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."