Now, a street artist has done his or her part to back the "Banish The Bag" campaign, while hoisting Tesco plc. on its own plastic bag petard it appears. A few days ago, a large painting appeared on the side of a chemist shop in Islington, in north London. The painting shows two children, with their hands on their hearts, pledging allegiance as a third child hoists a waving Tesco plastic bag up the flag pole. [See the picture of the art work at the top of this story.]
- Tesco: Says won't charge for or eliminate plastic grocery bags
- Asda: Still using plastic bags. Says considering charging; other options.
- Sainsbury's: Still using plastic bags. Says considering charging; other options
- Morrison's: Says is evaluating the options.
- Co-op: Doesn't offer single use plastic carrier bags in its stores. Supports a ban.
- Marks & Spencer: Plans on charging for plastic bags.
- Waitrose: Still using plastic bags. Says considering charging; other options.
All seven of the grocery chains above sell a variety of reusable shopping bags in their stores, ranging for inexpensive carrier bags made out of a synthetic material, to low price -to- higher-priced cotton canvas shopping totes. All of these above retailers who offer plastic bags in their stores also offer some sort of Club Card bonus point system or a "cents off" per bag discount for each reusable shopping tote bag shoppers' use in lieu of accepting a plastic bag for their groceries.
Retailers throughout the world need to create a policy
Tesco is far from the only major international retailer that is going to see itself in the middle of the plastic carrier bag issue; it's just the major target right now in the UK because of the position it took on the issue, and because the issue is front and center in the nation.
U.S-based Wal-Mart, the world's number one retailer, and France's Carrefour, the second-biggest global retailer, shouldn't take glee in Tesco's situation at home. The non-democratic government of China's decision to completely ban the use of thin plastic bags at retail stores in the nation is going to spur other countries throughout the world to follow suit, although many of them already were even before enacted it's new law.
What big, international retailers like Wal-Mart, Carrefour, Tesco and others are already beginning to find, but will soon start finding regularly, is that there will be a patchwork quilt of laws and ordinances throughout the world regarding if and how the retailer's can offer plastic shopping bags in their stores.
In some places, like China, parts of Africa, parts of Canada and Australia, the bags are already banned. In other places, like Ireland and possibly India, the single-use carrier bags will be taxed. And, in the United States, the retailers' will be required to place recycling bins in stores in some states--like California, New York and New Jersey--but will also find city-by-city bans, such as those already in place in San Francisco. There are at least 40 cities in the U.S. currently debating plastic grocery bag bans for their communities.
We think international retailers like Tesco, Wal-Mart and Carrefour--and others like the "big three" supermarket chains in the U.S.--Kroger Co., SuperValu, Inc. and Safeway Stores, Inc.--would be smart to get their ducks in a row and create and announce their own single-use plastic carrier bag policies--be they a per-bag fee, elimination of the bags' in their stores, or some other scheme. If not, the state and local legislators will define that policy for them by creating a law--which is happening with increasing frequency.
We predict when Whole Foods Market, Inc, eliminates the use of the plastic carrier bags in all its U.S. stores next month on Earth Day, April 22, the "Banish the Bag" campaign will begin across the pond here in the U.S.
We aren't saying a major U.S. daily will launch a campaign similar to what the Daily Mail has done in the UK--although they might think about doing so as most U.S. newspapers need as many readers as they can find--rather, we believe the Whole Foods Market self-ban will serve as a symbolic and real signal in the U.S., which will elevate the issue even higher than it currently is.