Celebrating Eco-Progress: Haggen

Here’s a Celebrating Eco-Progress installment that hits refreshingly close to home!

Regional supermarket chain Haggen Food & Pharmacy has officially endorsed an ordinance, under consideration by the Bellingham City Council, that would ban the use of single-use plastic shopping bags by all retailers in the city.

I’m particularly impressed with Haggen’s decision, as they state in their press release that they would prefer a statewide ban. This offers volumes of support for the kind of local approach to sustainability that I wrote most recently about a couple of weeks ago.

While Haggen was founded in Bellingham by the Haggen family, and owned and operated by them for 78 years, majority ownership was assumed by a Florida investment firm, Comvest, back in February 2011.

It’s pretty remarkable, then, that this decision was blessed by a company located over 3,000 miles away, and it doesn’t seem a stretch to deduce that Bellingham’s deeply engrained identity as an eco-conscious community wields the power to influence these kinds of decisions.

Haggen and Comvest deserve our thanks, so please consider following the links here to shoot them some words of appreciation.

(h/t John Stark at The Bellingham Herald)

4 thoughts on “Celebrating Eco-Progress: Haggen

  1. Hmm, I’m not sure if this is a good thing. It brings us back to the old paper vs. plastic arguments, which I have always found myself on the less popular side of the discussion. On the surface paper seems more environmentally friendly however I believe plastic is the better choice. I believe this because it takes something like 4X less energy, around 50X less water, space and weight which impact transportation energy and the over all air pollution created is less. Not to mention cutting down living trees which help clean the air and probably hurt their feelings too! Either choice should be recycled and obviously using a re-usable bag is the is the ideal situation, assuming it gets used enough times. So, banning plastic bags I question. I have seen in Europe places that they don’t provide bags so you have to bring one, buy one or go without. Maybe that would be a better option.

  2. Valid points, Mr. Flash, but I think we have to applaud this as a transitional solution. Also, in case you didn’t notice, the ordinance includes a five cent charge per paper bag. Perhaps not a real deterrent, but a symbol that the eventual goal is to eliminate all single-use bags, paper and plastic.

    Two other things to consider:

    1. Paper bags are at least biodegradable.
    2. Trees, if forests are managed well, are renewable crops, whereas plastic bags are made from petroleum.

    1. Good points. I didn’t read the ordinance about the 5 cent charge, that’s a good start. I wish they would charge 25 cents for either type of bag and give a refund if you brought them back to recycle like some states do with bottles and cans. At 25 cents it would also help keep them cleaned up off the streets and encourage people to bring your own bag.

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