Grocery Stores Get Prepared for Bellingham Plastic Ban

The ban on plastic bags will come into effect this week in Bellingham, Washington. Local stores and super markets are fully preparing themselves for the ban.

About the ban

The plastic bag ban will start on the 1st of August, 2012. Shoppers have the option of paying a nickel for every paper bag they need or carrying their own reusable bags. The reusable bag industry is benefitting from the ban as stores are purchasing wholesale reusable bags.

Apart from eliminating plastic bags, the main area of adjustment is the self-checkout section in stores where the computer will prompt customers asking them if they need paper bags and the number of bags they will need.

Stores will have staff to help customers with the self checkout but consumers will also have to self-regulate in order to determine the number of plastic bags they will need. A number of system kinks are being worked on by the stores.

Melinda Merril, spokesperson from Fred Meyer stated that the system can tell if you place a bag on the scale and asks if it is your own bag. Although the machine may not be perfect every time, hand held devices given to staff members alert them in case of any issue so that it can be attended to immediately.

An increasing demand for wholesale reusable bagsĀ 

Fred Meyer is one such store that is considering using reusable bags at the self checkout counter. The ban on plastic bags has given a boost to reusable bag sales, for which grocery stores are putting in extra orders before the plastic ban kicks in.

Local store owners feel that residents of Bellingham are aware of the ban and are actually preparing for it. Enough publicity has been given to the ban; people understand reusable bags are much more durable as compared to paper bags, which is increasing the sale of these bags.

Canadian shoppers might be a little surprised with the ban as they are not yet fully aware of it. But experts feel this element of surprise will reduce considerably after the first few days. The initial challenge for customers is to carry their own bags without forgetting them at home. Stores are making sure they stock up on reusable bags and paper bags especially in the first few days to help shoppers out in case they forget to bring their own bags.


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