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Old 12.09.2011, 01:28
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do grocery stores provide bags in CH?

Hi,
We are having a debate in Aspen. CO. USA over whether or not to charge (20 cents a bag) people for using plastic bags for their groceries. They are encouraged to bring their own bags, so I was wondering what the Europeans do about this environmental (or is it one?) problem?
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Old 12.09.2011, 01:35
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Re: do grocery stores provide bags in CH?

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Hi,
We are having a debate in Aspen. CO. USA over whether or not to charge (20 cents a bag) people for using plastic bags for their groceries. They are encouraged to bring their own bags, so I was wondering what the Europeans do about this environmental (or is it one?) problem?
Most shops do not hand out plastic bags anyway but paper bags. And in most shops you pay a certain price per bag. It is up to you to RE-use it as often as you like. Many shops also offer a kind of hybrid plasticized paper bags which are stronger than the paper bags and better against rain or snow.
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Old 12.09.2011, 03:02
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Re: do grocery stores provide bags in CH?

Actually, at most Swiss grocery stores there are free plastic bags at the packing area of the check-out counters, but rather small ones, less than half as big as the ones normally used at American check-outs. The bigger ones, as Wolli stated, are not free. Most people bring their own totes anyway.

On your side of the Atlantic, in our little village in Michigan, my second base camp so to say, the grocery store sells cotton totes with the store's logo ("Hansen Foods -- it just doesn't get any grocer than this!"), five bucks a piece, good quality, very reasonable, especially because they have vertical compartments inside both vertical seams to prevent bottles from tumbling around. I use them in Switzerland too.

And there is kind of a gallery in Hansen's lobby, about 100 photos of customers and their families in front of famous landmarks all over the planet, ostentatiously holding Hansen bags. Hansen bags in front of the pyramids in Egypt, the Tadj Mahal in India, the Great Wall in China, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Matterhorn in Switzerland, etc.. Nice idea.
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Old 12.09.2011, 08:34
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Re: do grocery stores provide bags in CH?

Point of order:

The paper bags have handles and are sturdy enough not to break after a single use. Cost = 35 Rappen (x 1.2 = 42 cents).

The plasticized bags with handles (like you can get at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, but larger) are ~2CHF (x1.2 = $2.40).

The small, plastic bags available for free will barely to hold 2 items, have no logos, no frills, rip easily, and are basically impractical except if you forgot to bring your bag and all you bought was a couple of things.
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Old 12.09.2011, 09:38
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Re: do grocery stores provide bags in CH?

A .20 charge for a Wal-Mart type plastic bag that, in all likelihood, will be thrown away after the customer gets home anyway, seems like it would not really be lessening the environmental impact very much.

Canvas or printed reinforced reusable plastic bags would be more likely to be reused by returning customers at your place of business and for other reasons (pool bag, library book bag, etc.). The re-use of bags by customers for other reasons and in other places is, in effect, free advertising for your business. As other posters said, you could offer paper bags as well, for a cheaper price, for those who did not want to invest in the better bags. Maybe you could do some sort of promotion about getting rid of the plastic bags altogether, and have a giveaway of sorts to promote the new bags?

In the US, getting people to remember their reusable bags is probably the biggest challenge, whereas in Switzerland, one doesn't go anywhere without a bag or two in their car or purse!
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Old 12.09.2011, 10:14
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Re: do grocery stores provide bags in CH?

Ireland introduced a tax on plastic bags with a great success almost 10 years ago, almost instantly decreasing the use of plastic bags by 90%.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/2205419.stm

And

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009...x-plastic-bags
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Old 12.09.2011, 13:49
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Re: do grocery stores provide bags in CH?

In Vaud (and perhaps elsewhere in CH, I don't know about it) Coop and Migros decided not to leave freely-available rolls of little plastic bags at the cashier. You can still have them, but must ask for them specifically. It's done in order to decrease the use of plastic bags and to encourage the use of more environment-friendly options.
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Old 12.09.2011, 21:18
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Re: do grocery stores provide bags in CH?

Italy has banned plastic bags. Shops are no longer allowed to give or sell plastic bags, only paper ones.
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Old 12.09.2011, 22:36
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Re: do grocery stores provide bags in CH?

I take my own M&S bags made from recycled bottles to my local Migros to add that English flavour to my shopping. Otherwise I buy the paper bags. These I use later on for bundling up paper for recycling tied up with the mandatory piece of string.
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Old 12.09.2011, 22:38
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Re: do grocery stores provide bags in CH?

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Actually, at most Swiss grocery stores there are free plastic bags at the packing area of the check-out counters, but rather small ones, less than half as big as the ones normally used at American check-outs. The bigger ones, as Wolli stated, are not free. Most people bring their own totes anyway.

On your side of the Atlantic, in our little village in Michigan, my second base camp so to say, the grocery store sells cotton totes with the store's logo ("Hansen Foods -- it just doesn't get any grocer than this!"), five bucks a piece, good quality, very reasonable, especially because they have vertical compartments inside both vertical seams to prevent bottles from tumbling around. I use them in Switzerland too.

And there is kind of a gallery in Hansen's lobby, about 100 photos of customers and their families in front of famous landmarks all over the planet, ostentatiously holding Hansen bags. Hansen bags in front of the pyramids in Egypt, the Tadj Mahal in India, the Great Wall in China, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Matterhorn in Switzerland, etc.. Nice idea.
Plastic bags at the packing area ? Oh sure, right you are, but those bags are for things less than 100 grams !
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Old 12.09.2011, 22:42
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Re: do grocery stores provide bags in CH?

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Plastic bags at the packing area ? Oh sure, right you are, but those bags are for things less than 100 ml !
Fixed that for you, to explain how you might have overlooked them...
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Old 12.09.2011, 22:43
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Re: do grocery stores provide bags in CH?

I love love love my bags from Coop that are made out of recycled plastic bottles. I especially love the ones from this season that are bright green with watermelons on them.
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Old 12.09.2011, 22:49
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Re: do grocery stores provide bags in CH?

switzerland tries to encourage use of disposible plastic bags by charging for paper ones and giving out plastic ones for free, but making sure that they are flimsey enough to be used only once.
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Old 12.09.2011, 22:53
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Re: do grocery stores provide bags in CH?

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Plastic bags at the packing area ? Oh sure, right you are, but those bags are for things less than 100 grams !
Usually yes. The COOP at Sihlcity has some quite strong bags tough (well, sufficient to at least take your stuff home).
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Old 13.09.2011, 17:52
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Re: do grocery stores provide bags in CH?

WOW, I'm informed! Thanks!

I was in Paris recently and they had corn starch biodegradable bags freely available, large and free everywhere. Any there?
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Old 13.09.2011, 18:36
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Re: do grocery stores provide bags in CH?

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In Vaud (and perhaps elsewhere in CH, I don't know about it) Coop and Migros decided not to leave freely-available rolls of little plastic bags at the cashier. You can still have them, but must ask for them specifically. It's done in order to decrease the use of plastic bags and to encourage the use of more environment-friendly options.
No, its done to increase the sales of paper bags wich is a enourmous cash cow for food chains.
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Old 13.09.2011, 19:05
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Re: do grocery stores provide bags in CH?

the small plastic bags are for things like soap etc.
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Old 13.09.2011, 19:38
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Re: do grocery stores provide bags in CH?

Thin bags for frozen foods so they don't drip on everything else, and strawberries, and fruit and vegetables you weigh, etc., etc.

I have 10-15 PET bottle bags like Peg mentioned, 'cept with grapes 'n strawberries, ski girls from the '40s, Save The Planet From Stupid People and other themes. Usefully larger than the paper bags, with comfortable handles that don't extrude your fingers off. Use them for everything.
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Old 13.09.2011, 19:42
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Re: do grocery stores provide bags in CH?

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I was in Paris recently and they had corn starch biodegradable bags freely available, large and free everywhere. Any there?
You can buy them here in rolls and are used to put your compostable kitchen rests in. The bags, of course, are compostable, but I wouldn't find them strong enough to carry shopping in.
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Old 13.09.2011, 23:34
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Re: do grocery stores provide bags in CH?

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WOW, I'm informed! Thanks!

I was in Paris recently and they had corn starch biodegradable bags freely available, large and free everywhere. Any there?
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You can buy them here in rolls and are used to put your compostable kitchen rests in. The bags, of course, are compostable, but I wouldn't find them strong enough to carry shopping in.

I spent some time someplace that required kitchen scraps to be put into such bags... they definitely are NOT designed to hold up for long and they definitely ARE degradable. (2 - 3 days max I'd say, esp in the summer... man that was a disgusting mess for this unfamiliar gal! )



Back to shopping bags though, I love the recycled PET ones as mentioned, I've also purchased canvas ones from Migros a while back but they were too long for walking home and carrying things up stairs. (Bottom kept bumping - I'm a shorty I guess )

The paper ones here I like well enough too, they are nice and sturdy and I can get quite a few uses out of them. The others though are MUCH better if I get caught out in the rain though, which is something that has happened a time or three.


Looking online, it seems Whole Foods (which I gather is a new-ish US grocery?) has the sort of recycled PET bags we mean. These go for about 2chf each and tend to have some sort of decoration on them in addition to the name of the store.




Whee! Looking further, I found the exact bag that I love so much (yes, I'm silly):

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