Who's Ready for the Bag Ban #inBend? | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

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Who's Ready for the Bag Ban #inBend?

As of July 1, Bend grocery stores will no longer be able to hand out free, single-use plastic bags at checkouts. Before the change, Source staffers check out how ready local stores seem to be



Has a checker ever given you side-eye for bringing your own bags, and not automatically offering to do the checker's job by beginning to bag your own groceries?

  • Can Stock Photo / yulka3ice

Us, too.

While checkers can currently get away with that occasional side-eye because those of us bringing bags are still so few, that's not going to last. Thanks to the City of Bend's ordinance regulating the use of single-use plastic bags, checkers across the city will soon have to either bag in paper, or bag in our reusable bags. Turns out, though, some stores show little sign of the impending change. Here's our take on local shopping, and bagging.

Albertsons—Corporate Shoppin'

You don't need no stinkin' bags!

By Chris Miller

Albertsons, the corporate grocery store that operates 21 separate companies—including Safeway—will hand out plastic bags to its shoppers like candy on Halloween.  

It's like the direct opposite of Whole Foods, where the once-pleasant checker's mood will turn dark when you don't hand over your reusable bag, but instead have to ask for a paper one like you're asking for your groceries for free.  

Not at Albies. No bags, no problem. You can get double-plastic bagged, or even paper. And, if you're really feeling cheeky, you can get your paper bagged in plastic! 

Whole Foods, Whole Package

When it comes to bagging, there can only be one

By Isaac Biehl

Not only does Whole Foods prefer if you bring your own bag, it's basically expected. While I might not know what everything is in the store, I DO know my groceries will be handled with care and no fuss. They are much faster at bagging everything into my reusable bag than other stores around—and they do so with a calm readiness. If my cashier isn't stressing, then neither am I. Sure, it might be intimidating walking in – but as my football coach once told me: "It's not about how you start. It's how you finish." And boy, does Whole Foods know how to finish.  

Fred Meyer—Something to Admire

BYO bag —or find a plethora of reusable bag options

By Keely Damara

I usually bring my reusable bags with me to the grocery store (including reusable produce bags), with the exception being when I'm making an unplanned stop on the way home from work. My go-to store is Fred Meyer, for their solid produce and bulk section. It doesn't hurt that they are also a one-stop shop for basically anything you could be shopping for.

After walking through the sliding doors, guests are greeted by a little white kiosk (a la imagined 1950s future-tech) playing an instructional video on how to use hand scanners to tally up items in your cart as you shop (you do the work, so they don't have to —aren't 21st century innovations convenient?) Still, deep down, in addition to self-checkout lanes usually being faster, it is, dare I say, fun, to scan my own items. Who knows, perhaps it's childhood nostalgia for many trips to the grocery store— wanting so badly to use that cool red laser to scan something... just once! Can you really blame them for trying to get us excited about using our own personal scanning gun?

New pseudo-helpful shopping tech aside, what's actually useful is the prominently displayed reusable bags for purchase —and their friendly checkers who don't bat an eye when you hand them reusable bags to use.  

The Humble Beet

More than ready for the bag ban revolution

By Nicole Vulcan

With its mix of grab-and-go items, produce and basic, locally sourced sundries, The Humble Beet isn't exactly the place you go to stock up on everything you're going to need to survive any impending Big One. Hence, you'll probably get by just fine if you forget the bulk of your reusable bags and end up needing to stash your stuff into the backpack you wear while riding your bike around the west side (because you do ride your bike to get around town and not just on the trails, right, Bend?) or the bag you have discarded in the trunk of your car.

But then again, one of the often-overlooked tenets of sustainability is "refuse," as in, don't just reduce, reuse and recycle, but also refuse bags—plastic, paper or whatever—when you can. In the raging debate over which type of bag is actually worse for the environment, the option that is most certainly the best is not using a bag at all.

I piled my stash of local eggs, (guilt-inducing) Coconut Bliss and produce on the counter, only to have the staff ask me first whether I wanted a bag before they started bagging things into a paper bag. I refused—and for that, they added a token into a bucket. That token would be translated into cash for a local charity. Are they ready for the plastic bag ban? You beet!

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