Monday, April 21, 2008

Earth Day 2008: City of Los Angeles, CGA and Southern California Grocery Chains Partner in Major Reuseable Shopping Bag Giveaway Promotion

The California Grocers Association (CGA), the trade group for the state's chain and independent grocers, is spearheading a major, multi-grocery retailer Earth Day 2008 reusable shopping bag giveaway in Southern California in partnership with the City of Los Angeles.

Beginning today and through tomorrow (Earth Day) a group of retail grocery companies which includes: Albertsons, Inc. (a division of SuperValu, Inc.); Ralphs Grocery Company (a division of Kroger Co.); Vons and Vons Pavilions (owned by Safeway Stores, Inc.) ; Food 4 Less; Smart & Final, Inc.; Henry's Farmers Markets (owned by Smart & Final); K.V. Mart supermarkets; El Super supermarkets; and Superior Grocers; is giving out about 50,000 free reusable shopping at more than 40 stores throughout Los Angeles.

Each district of Los Angeles has at least one store participating in the reusable bag giveaway, which is designed to encourage shoppers to bring their own bag to the supermarket, according to Ronald Fong CGA's new president.

"Reuseable shopping bags are a readily available, viable, and cost effective alternative to traditional (single-use) shopping bags," Fong told Fresh & Easy Buzz. "We commend the city of Los Angeles for taking the lead in reuseable bag awareness and education and hope this event sets the stage for partnerships with other municipalities throughout the state," Fong added.

The two-day Los Angeles Earth Day 2008 free reusable bag giveaway promotion began this morning at 6am. Each store customer will get one free bag per-transaction today and tomorrow or until the available 50,000 reusable shopping bags run out.

The reusable shopping bags being distributed to shoppers for free by the Southern California grocers are constructed of a polyester-like fiber material and are made from 100% post-consumer recycled material which includes recycled water and soda bottles. The bags have a message on them touting the fact they are made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic. That message is: "Great Taste and Zero Waste."

CGA and its member-grocery chains and independents are trying to increase consumer use of reusable shopping bags in California, along with decreasing the amount of single-use plastic (and paper) carrier bags used in the state's supermarkets and grocery stores.

The grocers' association and its members supported AB 2449, the law which was enacted last year requiring California grocers with larger stores to place plastic grocery bag recycling bins in those stores, as well as to sell reuseable shopping bags in all those stores.

As we reported yesterday, a new bill AB 2058 passed the California State Assembly Natural Resource Committee last week.

That bill, written by Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, the same Southern California Assembly Member who authored AB 2449 (the in-store bag recycling bill), would require the state's grocers with larger stores to meet two single-use plastic carrier bag use reduction goals, one by 2011 and another by 2013. If either of those goals aren't met, the law would then require the grocers to charge a 15 cent per-bag fee to any customer who requested plastic.

AB 2058 now goes to the California State Assembly Appropriations Committee for debate and an eventual vote.

The city and county of Los Angeles also is considering a proposed single-use plastic carrier bag law which would either levy a fee on each plastic grocery bag shoppers request in the city's supermarkets and drug stores or perhaps ban the bags completely.

The California Grocers' Association represents about 500 retail members, who collectively operate about 6,000 food and grocery stores in California. The association also has over 200 supplier members who do business with these retailers.

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