Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Atkinsons’ jumps on bag-wagon

Stores will recycle shoppers’ plastic bags

Express Staff Writer

Soon, people will be able to recycle plastic grocery bags at all three Atkinsons’ Markets. While the bags could be recycled at Albertsons in Hailey via a separate program, this marks the first time that locally owned markets will offer such a program. Photo by David N. Seelig

Those wishing to go green in the Wood River Valley will soon have a new item to recycle—plastic grocery bags from Atkinsons' Markets.

The Ketchum-based Environmental Resource Center announced this week that it has been working with Hilex Poly, a plastic bag manufacturer, and Atkinsons' to provide bins for plastic bag recycling in all three market locations.

According to ERC Director Craig Barry, bins are already in place in the Hailey and Bellevue locations and will be installed in Ketchum after the first of the year.

"While my preference is always to reuse, it's great that we now have the choice to recycle these bags as well," Barry said.

The recycling program is known as the Bag 2 Bag program, operated by Hilex Poly nationwide in an attempt to reduce the number of plastic bags that end up in landfills.

"They created it to be better stewards of the bags they create," Barry said.

The bags recycled at local markets will be sent to Hilex Poly's local plant in Jerome, where they will be processed and made into new plastic bags. Barry said the program was particularly appealing because of Hilex Poly's Idaho connection.

"Not only are we recycling bags, but we're actually supporting local business," he said.

Albertsons in Hailey already has an in-house bag recycling system in place, but Barry said Atkinsons' had no such program until now.

Customers can recycle any clean plastic grocery or produce bags, regardless of color.

Barry defined "clean" as any bag that had not had something leak or spill inside. Smaller, lighter produce bags used to hold fruit and vegetables are also recyclable, Barry said, as are bags from other stores.

Whit Atkinson, the markets' co-owner, said he views the program as a type of customer service.

"This partnership [is] just one way by which we can better serve our customers," Atkinson said.

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