When the pandemic began, most grocery stores took additional steps to keep their customers and staff safe while staying open. We are very grateful for all that retailers have done to limit the spread of COVID while keeping their doors open to keep everyone fed. Many of the precautionary measures stores have implemented are essential and effective — things like making masks mandatory for staff and customers, providing gloves and hand sanitizer, cleaning surfaces frequently, opening early for the immune-compromised and the elderly, changing store layouts and limiting the number of people allowed inside at any given time to facilitate social distancing, providing paid sick leave, and more. However, some of the changes — namely, preventing customers from using reusable bags and ending bulk bins and other refillables — are not only not keeping any of us safer, they’re also contributing to a major surge in single-use plastic pollution that is ending up in all the wrong places – gutters, rivers, parks, oceans, roadsides, landfills, incinerators and developing countries.
Fortunately, on June 22, 2020 more than 115 scientists and public health experts released a statement explaining that reusable bags and containers are just as safe as the single-use plastic alternatives that stores are embracing during COVID.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP
Now it’s up to all of us to share this information with stores to help convince them to bring back reusables before too many more metric tons of plastic enter our oceans. No pressure 🙂
Please take a few minutes right now to reach out to your grocery store, supermarket, health food store, coop, bakery — anywhere you buy food — to share this data and urge them to bring back the reusables.
To help make this easier, we’ve drafted a sample letter, packed with facts, that you can adapt to make it yours – or if you’re not feeling inspired, just fill in the missing names and use it as is. If it’s easy to find, consider adding how much money you spent at the store the previous year – sometimes your online banking or credit card company makes that info easy to find.
You can view and copy the text below or click here to download it as a Microsoft Word document.