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“Interestingly, retailers do very little to educate consumers about the possible cross-contamination dangers associated with using reusable bags and bottles.”
— Justin Hiller, VP, Hiller’s Markets
Sidebar: Prohibiting Plastic
Consumers throughout the country have readily adopted reusable bags and bottles over disposable plastics. But in some states, usage of fabric totes and multi-use metal drinkware may no longer be voluntary, thanks to new laws forbidding select single-use containers.
“We’re at a point where more communities are banning single-use plastic bags and bottles altogether,” said Jim Wisner, president of Wisner Marketing Group, Libertyville, Ill. “So it’s time for retailers to take a leadership role when it comes to distributing these items and helping people make the transition by educating them on the benefits, safety and environmental benefits.”
On Jan. 1, the city of Concord, Mass., began honoring a new law that bans single-serve bottles of water. The law was prompted by one environmentally conscious local woman and eventually adopted by officials as a citywide ordinance.
Also in January, three of the four major Hawaiian islands — Hawaii, Maui and Kauai — adopted a regulation that outlaws single-use plastic bags. Retailers have one year to discontinue their use of plastic bags, after which time customers will need to request a bag, for a small fee.
Local government issued several helpful suggestions regarding reusable bag use, including regular cleaning.
“Consumers should be able to figure these things out on their own, but it doesn’t hurt to help them along with a few pointers every now and then,” said Tim Cummiskey, grocery manager of Highland Park Market, Glastonbury, Conn.
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