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The Austin American-Statesman reports that Whole Foods’ stores there have decided to no longer offer disposable plastic bags to shoppers, and instead will give them “a choice of complimentary 100 percent recycled paper bags or purchasing traditional canvas bags or a new reusable plastic tote. The latter, slightly larger than a traditional brown paper grocery bag, is 99 cents and made of recycled plastic bottles.”

According to the company, the Austin move is a test that anticipates a company-wide initiative that it intends to implement next year. And, the paper writes, “Although Whole Foods is eliminating plastic bags at checkout in Austin, it will continue to utilize the thin transparent bags in the produce, seafood and meat departments. But the chain is looking for dependable, eco-friendly alternatives in those departments and anticipates making a changeover in 2008.”

KC's View:
Not to diminish the Whole Foods move, but what took them so long?

It seems obvious that this sort of initiative fits perfectly with Whole Foods’ broader image and strategy, and it seems likely that its shoppers will be happy to go along. After all, they aren’t just Whole Foods shoppers – they share a unique worldview.

These kinds of steps are happening in specific stores and communities right now, but I’d guess that the momentum will pick up…and that we’ll see a lot more places where disposable plastic bags simple vanish into history.