business news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Baltimore Sun reports that “legislation that would have made Baltimore the second city in the nation to ban plastic bags at grocery stores and retail chains was killed by the full City Council last night. Intended to keep plastic bags from clogging waterways, the proposal would have required large stores - those with $500,000 or more in gross revenue - to bag groceries in paper or reusable bags only. Days after it was approved by a committee, the full council voted against the proposal, 11-3.”

• The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that “Seattle city officials…moved a step closer Tuesday toward becoming one of the few major American cities to discourage paper and plastic bags in favor of reusable bags, and to ban polystyrene food and drink containers.

“The full City Council is expected to vote on the proposals Monday that were passed Tuesday by a committee. If adopted, the new legislation will launch a 90-day campaign to educate residents and shoppers before the 20-cent per bag fee goes into effect on Jan. 1.

“The ban on plastic foam food take-out containers and cups also will take effect that day, if approved. However, a ban on plastic meat trays will be delayed for a year, allowing stores time to figure out alternatives.”

• The Los Angeles Times reports that “the Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to ban plastic carryout bags in the city's supermarkets and stores by July 2010 -- but only if the state fails to impose a 25-cent fee on every shopper who requests them. Council members said they hope an impending ban would spur consumers to begin carrying canvas or other reusable bags, reducing the amount of plastic that washes into the city's storm drains and the ocean.”

KC's View:
I still think that eventually we’re going to see the usage of plastic and paper disposable bags drop dramatically in the US – possibly because of legislation, possibly because consumers begin to realize that reusable canvas bags just make more environmental sense.

A word to retailers – more and more I keep hearing shoppers tell me that they would love it if grocers would put up signs in the parking lot reminding them not to forget their canvas bags. (They want to use the bags but haven't gotten in the habit yet.) So do it! Customers want it. And it makes sense for your bottom line.