Why We Bag our Produce in Walmart Bags

We’re not Walmart fans of course. We don’t shop there.

But every week we bag our produce in plastic Walmart bags. Why?

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We believe in re-purposing and reusing items, whenever possible. We used to ask customers to give us their clean plastic grocery bags, for us to reuse (some still do this). Then Cherie discovered that Walmart routinely throws away huge amounts of brand new unused plastic bags, sending them straight to landfills. At Walmart the cashiers are told to check out customers as quickly as possible. They pull the plastic bags from a bin, and if they don’t separate easily they just toss them away by the handful, to avoid having to spend the one or two seconds (tops) that it might take to separate the bags that cling together.

The unused throwaway bags go into a big box near the checkout lines. Cherie started taking them, but one day she was told she wasn’t allowed to have them. So she wrote Walmart’s sustainability department (yes, they have one of those), complaining that these perfectly good unused bags were being wasted and sent to landfills, despite the fact that we could put them to good use. A few days later the local store manager called her, saying that we were welcome to take the bags.

And so now when our customers buy produce at the farmers market, or order produce for delivery, we usually give it to them in a Walmart bag.

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That makes good sense to us.

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15 comments on “Why We Bag our Produce in Walmart Bags

  1. NebraskaDave says:

    Bill, don’t get me started on how wasteful this country is. We have had this discussion many times over the years on your blog about the American culture and the huge amount of waste we have. The food sector being the biggest in my opinion. In my humble opinion, buffets are the most wasteful food troughs there are. No one cleans up there plates before going back for more. Half the food gets dumped out. We are the most over fed gluttonous country in the world. I’m not talking about your readers here but the culture in general has a food addiction issue. You talk to some one about fasting for a day to cleanse the system and you get a dumb founded look like, “What would you want to do that for.” (Deep breath, exhale slowly) Ok, I’m better now.

    Have a great Walmart bag day at the Market.

    Like

    • Bill says:

      You and I are on the same page on that point Dave, as you know. All waste is bad (like throwing all these plastic bags away just because they don’t separate fast enough) but food waste is particularly outrageous. A huge amount of perfectly good produce ends up being dumped and thrown away just because it doesn’t meet the buyer’s cosmetic standards. That one really bugs me.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. shoreacres says:

    What a good idea. I’d never stopped to think about what happens to those bags that come off the rack in a bunch. Maybe I thought there were a couple of employees in a back room somewhere, pulling them apart. In any event, once they’ve been produced, it’s all to the good if they can be put to use somehow.

    Once I get them home, I never throw those bags away, They’re wonderful for meeting my apartment complex’s demand that kitty litter be bagged, and I use them for trash at work. There are times when they’re used two or three times before being disposed of — and who cares whose logo is on them?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      Exactly. We do that too. We usually bring our own bags when shopping, but when we end up with plastic bags from a store we reuse them as trash bags, produce bags, etc. until they’re not usable anymore. Then we recycle them.

      Like

  3. Laurie Graves says:

    Great idea! Hooray for you and Cherie!

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  4. karenhumpage says:

    I think it should be a legal requirement for all carrier bags and other plastic wrappings to be made from biodegradable plastics. Very few companies are doing this, though top marks to Ryman Stationers for doing so (my year-old Ryman carrier bag has disintegrated to confetti). Some UK supermarkets have stopped giving them out to encourage shoppers to use their own bags, but it needs to go further. I try to recycle all my household waste but still end up binning a hideous amount of plastic each week that’ll end up in landfill or worse, the sea.

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    • Bill says:

      Plastic bags are environmental nightmares. At least paper bags were biodegradable.

      We try to stay very mindful of it, but it’s still really difficult to live a low-waste lifestyle. We live in a throw-away culture these days.

      Like

  5. We used to get giant egg boxes — not the cartons, but the large cardboard boxes that hold dozens of cartons– from Walmart for our local food pantry to box up people’s food. We were just told recently that they are no longer allowed to recycle those boxes because of a possibility of contamination from broken egg cartons.
    They have to throw them away. We now get them from the local grocery store, but we are just waiting for them to tell us the same thing…

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    • Bill says:

      Crazy. Until recently here we weren’t legally allowed to reuse egg cartons. Fortunately that law changed, but those kind of laws end up preventing re-use of lots of perfectly good items.

      Like

  6. It makes me sick with all the wastefulness in this country. I’m always so happy to hear of someone bucking the system> Good on you guys for getting Walmart to change their mind!

    I use reusable bags as much as possible, but occasionally I NEED to get one as they are my trash can liner in the kitchen. Yea. We use that LITTLE trash in a week.
    I see those HUGE trash receptacles (65 gallon) at the curbs every week. My gosh–it takes us a full MONTH to put out one 13 gallon trash bag. Methinks this is very telling of our society.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      I used to roll one or two large trashcans full of waste out to the curb 2 or 3 times a week, back before we saw the light. Nowadays I carry off our garbage (one container) about once a month, and most of that is farm related. It’s not difficult to be less wasteful. It just takes a little mindfulness.

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  7. Here to cut down on waste and plastic in the UK the government introduced a charge on all plastic bags. of 5 pence per plastic bag if you needed one.. The charge was to be distributed to various charities of the shops choices..
    It has sure stopped a lot of needless plastic bags being used and dumped.. Now people are more aware and recycling and using reusable bags in their shopping trips.. 🙂 its not hard is it. If we all used LESS Plastic the world would be a better place

    Like

    • Bill says:

      I so agree about that. We used to let our county put a trash dumpster on our property by the road, so neighbors would have somewhere to dump their trash. But finally we had to ask them to move it, due almost entirely to plastic bags. The wind blew them all over the farm and they would get tangled in trees, etc. It was an ugly mess. And because plastic doesn’t decompose, it is essentially forever.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes this idea has cut waste of plastic bags down a lot.. If only people would understand its there for ever.. They would try to avoid plastic.. But in todays world everything is made of it… And not all of it is healthy either.. I watched a consumer programme ab0ut Fake items being sold in the UK.. and plastic bowls of recycled waste were being passed off as genuine goods which were microwavable.. It was found these bowls could cause cancer with the toxins in their make up.. One has to ask oneself about the drinks inside plastic bottles? as we know Sunlight affects their toxins too.. People should really educate themselves more about the dangers of plastic xxx

        Liked by 1 person

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