Local Grocery Stores Working to Reduce Plastic Footprint


Since 2010, Baesler’s Market has been offering a 5 cent discount for each reusable bag a customer uses during a transaction. In an effort to attract more customers to take advantage of their incentive, the store has posted a sign at the entrance displaying the number of plastic bags they have diverted from landfills. “We are making an effort along with our customers to try and minimize our footprint and be more environmentally conscious,” Baesler’s Assistant Manager Casey Baesler said. When Baesler added up the data to get the inaugural number of 173,372, he was shocked at how high the number was because cashiers do not always pay attention and deduct 5 cents off a customer’s bill for bringing in their own bag. Baesler says the number could easily be double the posted number because somebody may have four bags and only two get noticed by the cashier.

“I have had customers say they didn’t want the 5 cents because they are saving the environment and that was enough for them,” Baesler said. Using one plastic bag at Baesler’s costs the store 4 cents (paper bags cost 10). If the average customer uses eight plastic bags in one trip, it costs Baesler’s 32 cents. It is no wonder they offer an incentive for customers to bring their own bag. In addition, Baesler says a reusable bag is much bigger and sturdier. Therefore, it may take two to three plastic grocery bags to equal what one reusable bag can do.

“It is amazing how many of our customers have their own bags. Some people just naturally know to bring their own bags,” Baesler said. To help combat the problem of countless plastic bags ending up in a landfill, Baesler’s Market has a drop-off location for plastic bags to be recycled at the front of the store.

“One thing that proves people are conscious of recycling is our collection area at the front of the store. We have to unload the bin sometimes two to three times a day because of how many people will park right by the door, run in, dump their bag full of plastic bags and drive away,” Baesler said.

In addition to the bag initiative, he says the store will soon be installing energy efficient lighting to save on utility bills.

Submitted By:  Jane Santucci SI2016 Regional Coordinator, Terra Haute