Paper, Plastic, or Buy A Polypropylene Bag? Walmart Wants To Know

California may not be able to balance its budget, but the one thing the Golden State can do is try to be on the cutting edge for environmental issues. This time the state, along with some of the local cities, are tackling the problem of the waste associated with paper and plastic bags. In fact a recent survey of California families show that on average, a family uses about 600 bags per year. With this in mind, Walmart is trying an experiment at three stores located in Sacramento and Ukiah, CA. Instead of allowing customers to use the free bags, customers instead purchase reusable bags or can bring their own.

One recent article stated:

This past October, Walmart launched an experiment: three stores in Sacramento and Ukiah stopped selling single-use bags. Instead, the Walmart claims that each reusable bag offsets the use of 75 plastic bags — not bad for the price.

The Walmart ban has, of course, brought out passionate voices from both sides. Triple Pundit points us to this article from the Sacramento Bee that features commenters raging against the “environmental extremists” that are foisting these “lousy bags” upon an unsuspecting public.

Which brings up an interesting question. Should the ban on both paper and plastic bags be nationwide? Would you purchase a reusable bag or bring your own bags to the store?

I recall as a kid that it was common for people to bring their own sack bags when they shopped.Would this be inconvenient in today’s society where convenience is paramount?

Comments welcome.


Article Written by

I have been writing for Lockergnome for eight years.

  • Alan

    There is nothing unusual or new about this, Europe has been doing it for years !

  • Pingback: Paper, Plastic or Buy A Polypropylene Bag? Walmart Wants To Know « stuff from California()

  • Bridget

    I’m a fan of reusable totes, and I’ve been using them for my shopping for about a year and a half. It seems like an easy way to minimize one’s carbon footprint. However, I live in the middle of Oklahoma, and I’m pretty sure people would flip a lid if Wal-Mart made them bring their own bags. For a nation that fosters so much advancement, we sure are averse to change.

  • Adam

    We have gotten utterly LAZY that’s it……this is why I like shopping at ALDI and “Save a Lot” both places which cater to the “bring your own bags” crowd…..

    People who don’t use the canvas bags just don’t realize how useful they really are! For $1 or $2 (ALDI charges $1.99 for their reusable canvas bag where I live) you get a HUGE bag that can easily hold a weeks worth of groceries for a family of 4. If you are the “picky bagger” then go ahead and purchase 2… for your produce, canned goods, meats, etc…”heavy stuff” and one for your other “boxed goods”

    Not to mention, I’m a cashier at a food chain that isn’t yet on this reusable bag bandwagon but when a customer brings in their own bags, it makes bagging their groceries a LOT easier and faster. In fact, generally the customer will insist on bagging there own groceries :) Saves me the hassle and they can get their stuff bagged the way they want.

    • Ron Schenone

      Hello Adam,
      Thanks for sharing your experience with us.
      Regards, Ron

  • Pingback: Flight Attendant Saves the Day ~ Chris Pirillo()

  • KillerQueen

    Heck yeah they should be banned! Who cares if you have to pay $.50 more! It’s helping the environment! And if people on food stamps or welfare (how are mainly the people whining) can’t afford/deal with it they need to get a job! It saves the companies money, it promotes environmental health and teaches people that they need to think about what they are doing to the environment.

    I have purchased 4 of those bags from Walmart. I use them everyday, whether its for shopping, bringing my lunch to work or whatever!

    Also on this topic, like bestbuy is doing Walmart and other superstores should start having a recycling bin for different things right by the door, especially for plastic containers (which hardly get recycled).

    And thats complete BS the article saying that environmental extremist are the ones pushing the issue. No it’s just common sense. It’s just like saying going on a diet is extreme and your protesting fast food! I care about the environment in an extreme way but it’s not like I’m pushing other people to go be a veggie or shop only at a green market. I just wish people would wake up and see how much damage we are doing to the environment. People like most of us are using our brains and our hearts to help the environment, which in the end helps all of us not just humans!

  • Raymond Combs

    To conserve gas, I go to the store only about once a week. It takes 4, 6, or even more bags to hold my groceries! I am disabled, so I can’t fill my own bags. To use one (or two) bags would require me to go everyday, or even multiple times a day! How much gas (oil – remember?), would this save – as compared to the environmental savings on paper or plastic?

  • Kevin S

    Each of the reusable bags does hold several disposable bags worth of groceries, as was posted in an earlier comment. Stores will fill your reusable bags for you.

  • Tom Porter

    Paper bags are recyclable, single use precludes cross contamination of food, they have many other uses around the home, and, in reality, levy very little threat against our forests.

    Suggest banning them in garbage dumps, perhaps using a $0.50/each CRV to give recyclers a financial incentive to recover them, also never import them, regardless of the humanitariun needs of the exporting country. It just doesn’t make for good stewardship of the planet, if they wish to make bags, they should make what they need and use them.

    I use them to catch shredded paper (all of my paper trash gets shredded and recycled), but there are many other practical uses around the home and garden.

    Also note, a decade, or so, ago the folks now complaining about plastic bags were, you got it, complaining about paper bags.