By David Asselin, firstname.lastname@example.org
The way that people do their grocery shopping in Austin, Portland and Seattle has changed, by government decree. In all three cities, city councils have enacted bans on plastic bags. With this trend in the national spotlight, business owners on the front lines of this change may be asking: What does this mean for my business? Might similar legislation be headed my way?
As any business owner knows, the consumer is indispensible to success. Providing for the needs and preferences of customers—and recognizing the diversity of these preferences—builds loyalty.
And so, when entering the produce section of a grocery store, I have the option of organic fruits and vegetables. Walk over to the personal care section and there’s not one type of toothpaste; there are dozens to choose from. Catering to the varied preferences of customers is at the core of American business—it’s part of our culture.
Grocery bags are no different. Realizing this, most stores have long provided shoppers with the choice of paper or plastic bags. In recent years, reusable bags, often branded with a store logo, have become increasingly common, giving shoppers a third choice at the checkout counter. Whether the shopper prefers to bring his own bags from home or reuse his plastic retail bags to pick up pet waste, he can do just that.
Simply put, plastic bags are available because shoppers continue to find them useful. When government intervenes to take away an affordable item that many choose to use, something is amiss.
Specifically, several considerations are being overlooked:
The value of plastic: Plastic bags were adopted in the 1970’s and, since then, have been recognized for their cost and energy savings, cleanliness, reliability (being able to carry 25 pounds) and recyclability. Furthermore, shoppers like them because they serve various secondary functions—as trash-bin liners, pet-waste disposal or l