No "free" single-use plastic bags at grocery check-outs!

No "free" single-use plastic bags at grocery check-outs!

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Laura Schneider started this petition to Walmart and

Dear Large-chain Retail Grocers,

Starting over a year ago, when government leaders failed to act in the midst of the pandemic, you stepped up. You saved thousands of lives. Based on science, you required all employees and shoppers to wear masks. You experimented with one-way aisles, senior shopping hours, and curbside pick-up, to help people maintain social distancing. You sanitized your stores and closed changing rooms. Not all of these efforts turned out to be necessary, but the mask requirements alone saved countless lives across the country while vaccines were being developed, and we thank you for that!

You proved you are capable of doing the right thing when lives are on the line. Because savings lives also happens to be good for business. Funny how that works, right?

We now ask you to turn to the next crisis: PLASTIC.

Much like was the case with masks, the science is clear: plastic bags blowing around aren’t just unsightly, they are directly killing more and more people on a daily basis.

This is no longer a debate. Instead of being recycled, almost all plastic bags are burned by so-called “recycling” companies, which is releasing carbon into the air and accelerating the climate crisis. Plastics absorbed in our bodies are causing countless debilitating diseases and death. Plastic bags end up in the oceans, where they are consumed by marine life – this kills and poisons marine animals and is breaking our food supply chain.

We’ve tried to get our political leaders to act, but they’ve been bought by Big Oil / Petro-Chemical lobbyists and have repeatedly blocked legislation that would save lives. Even worse, many states have banned local governments from regulating the use of plastic bags at check-out.

However, nothing prevents retailers from incentivizing consumers to reduce the use of plastics.

So we, the people, not soul-less corporations, are now asking major retail grocers to save lives, just like you did during the Covid pandemic. We ask you  to do this by drastically reducing the use of plastic bags at check-out.

Specifically, we ask retail grocers to:

a.       Stop offering free single-use bags at check-out.

Contrary to the hype, single-use bags are not recycled. They are shipped to Asia, where they are burned as junk plastic, which releases the carbon and other poisons into the air. We breath air from Asia. Enough said.

b.      Instead of giving out free single-use bags, SELL the large, multi-use bags at check-out for $1 per bag.

Most retailers already offer these bags for sale for $1-$2, but they are always located far away from check-out, and not promoted at all, resulting in few people buying them, which defeats the purpose.

The simple steps above will prompt consumers to choose re-usable bags, rather than to mindlessly pull the free single-use bags at check-out.

How do we know this? It’s simple: the psychology of consumers, who love saving a dollar. We know that offering a discount to consumers who supply their own bags doesn’t make much of a difference. BUT: asking consumers to buy bags will prompt them to re-use their bags as much as possible, because everybody likes saving a dollar!

The petro-chemical industry lobbyists will work hard to stop you from making this very small change. They will argue something about “freedom” and “choice”, but we know that’s a false argument. There is no freedom for those people who are sick or dead as a direct result of the plastics being released into our environment. And a lot of us are dying much sooner than we should.

The petro-chemical industry lobbyists will also argue that it’s a “burden” on retailers to make this small change. This again is a false argument. Retailers have already made this change in many countries. And it wasn’t hard. All you need to do is check in with your European branch leaders – and Germany specifically – to repeat what you did there.

Finally, we remind your shareholders that what’s good for the people is good for business. And drastically reducing the use of single-use bags at check-out is good for the people.

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