Even though the plastic bag met its unceremonious demise in Seattle only a month ago, it looks like the mourning period is already over. Thanks to the Seattle plastic bag ban, many shoppers in our area -- even outside the ban's boundaries -- have adopted a trendier way to tote their tallboys and cereal boxes. The plastic bag has been replaced by the eco-friendly reusable tote bag.
It was expected that Seattleites would turn to the reusable tote, as it's now the only free option for carrying groceries. But, perhaps surprisingly, even shoppers who still have the option of using the plastic bag seem to have cast it aside, whipping out brightly colored totes at the checkstand instead.
Employees at Safeways in Shoreline, Burien, Sea-Tac and Kenmore -- where plastic bags are still being doled out -- say they've noticed more customers bringing reusable bags since the ban went into effect.
An employee at the Kenmore Safeway says he's noticed a 10-20 percent increase in customers bringing reusable bags over the past month. He attributes the increase to a lack of knowledge about the boundaries of the ban.
"I think there's been an increase in people using reusable bags because they don't realize the store is still able to give out plastic bags," he says. "We're right on the cusp of where bags are allowed."
That may be the case for stores on the fuzzy edges of Seattle, but even stores in areas that are clearly not part of Seattle report seeing more customers carrying trendy totes. Laurel Hulslander, a cashier at the Kirkland Fred Meyer, says she's noticed more customers bringing their own bags over the past month.
Hulslander chalks up the increasing amount of reusable bags to Kirkland residents' eco-friendly attitude. "I mean, this is Kirkland, and they're really environmentally conscious here," she says.
Whether shoppers want to save the environment or simply save five cents, the reusable tote seems to be taking over grocery stores all over the greater Seattle area -- news that's surely to the delight of the plastic bag ban's supporters.