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Numerous published reports say that Whole Foods Markets will announce today that it will eliminate the usage of disposable plastic shopping bags by April 22 – Earth Day. The decision affects all 270 of its stores, in the US, Canada and the UK.

According to the company, this will mean that approximately 100 million plastic bags will not end up in the nation’s landfills between April 22 and the end of the year.

USA Today reports that “in place of the fly-away plastic bags scorned by many environmentalists, Whole Foods will offer several options: free paper bags in four sizes made from 100% recycled paper, reusable bags 80% made from recycled plastic bottles for 99 cents and canvas bags selling for $6.99 to $35. It encourages consumers to bring their own bags by taking 5 cents to 10 cents off the bill for each.”

And, the paper notes, “While Whole Foods is tiny compared with the rest of the retail grocery industry, its role as a trendsetter is huge. Whole Foods' success played a major role in nudging top supermarket chains to sell organic foods.”

KC's View:
This is an important move, and one that I suspect more companies will follow.

It seems inevitable that more and more cities, counties and even states will begin banning the use of disposable plastic bags, and it simply makes sense for the retailers that hand out most of the bags to get ahead of the curve. Whole Foods is doing exactly that, and is doing so in a way that fits perfectly into its broader brand message.

Smart move.