To the Coop,
Zoë Kaplan-Lewis’s letter to the editor in the last Linewaiters’ Gazette was exactly on target, and I agree with every word she wrote. This is my plea for the Coop to return the bulk bins to the bulk aisle.
I understand that bulk items are sold in plastic bags for reasons of hygiene, to keep Coop members’ hands away from grains, beans, sugar, etc. If this is the case, I find it troubling that produce isn’t treated with the same concern. In Italy, there are rolls of plastic gloves in the produce aisle and everyone dons gloves before touching a single item. We use our bare hands to pick out produce, and if one tomato isn’t firm or squishy enough, we put it back. Is there a rationale for allowing bare hands in the produce aisle but not in the bulk aisle?
I urge the Coop to return the bulk bins. If people want to purchase grains, beans, sugar, etc., in plastic bags, there are grocery stores in the neighborhood that supply these items. If people want to keep the plastic in their grocery carts to a minimum, there is only one grocery store where that could be possible: the Park Slope Food Coop. Please consider turning “could be possible” to “is possible.”
Single-Use Plastic at the Coop
100,000 single-use plastic bags given away to Coop shoppers every month?
According to Martha Hoffman, the coordinator who orders them, close to 60,000 fossil-fuel bags costing $.01 per bag and 40,000 “compostable bags” costing $.045 per bag are ordered per month. [Note: the letter said “$.01.1” above; I assume the writer meant “$.011,” but I’m just guessing—Dave Mandl, letters editor.]
Coordinator Joe Szladek wants to give away only “compostable” bags, which will cost, at 100,000 a month, close to $54,000 a year.
Coordinator Joe Holtz sees this bag giveaway as a necessary part of doing business at the Coop.
Shoppers require it, he thinks, although he reuses all the plastic bags he gets by buying bread.
Where is the Environmental Committee? He says they don’t want to educate.
Why do we use so many single-use plastic bags at the Coop?
And there are single-use plastic-wrapped clamshells, food pallets, peanut butter jars…
What happens to them? The compostable “free” produce bags must be composted in a commercial compost facility. They take 180 days there; they don’t compost in backyard compost bins.
There is no recycling for single-use plastic. Anything that can be separated from regular garbage/recycling that is light enough to be blown in air is sent to a Covanta furnace.
Is there a parallel between Sackler’s Oxycontin lies about addiction and the fossil-fuel industry’s lies about recycling and burning fossil fuel? We in the USA are addicted to convenience. Do we continue the addiction, riding blindly with convenience into climate change?