Ferraro Foods in Trail and Rossland is moving away from plastic, starting at the tills. (Guy Bertrand photo)

Kootenay grocer eliminates plastic bags at checkout

Only compostable and recycled trays are now used in the Ferraro Foods meat department

The old “paper or plastic” question at grocery checkouts disappeared into simply “plastic” many years ago.

Now that Ferraro Foods in Trail and Rossland have cut ties to plastic bags, however, the question in the two stores has become “paper” or “box.”

Over the past few weeks, both locales have depleted their stock of the white plastic bags that were being used to pack out groceries. That means shoppers who forget to bring their own bags, have the option of carrying out groceries in a brown paper bag for 10 cents a piece, or they can opt for a cardboard box at no cost.

“The City of Rossland spearheaded it last year (plastic bag ban),” says David Ferraro. “And we have more and more customers talking to us about this and wanting it. So if that’s what the people want, then we are going to do it,” he said.

“We believe it’s the right thing to do, right now.”

Read more: Rossland passes plastic bag ban

Read more: Trail brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Another change shoppers may have noticed several weeks ago is that Ferraro Foods no longer uses Styrofoam in its meat department. Depending upon the amount of protein packaged, the trays are now either compostable paper or clear recyclable plastic.

“We would like all of our trays to be compostable,” Ferraro said. “The problem is our wrapping machine, the bigger ones don’t work properly. So until they perfect them, it will be a work in progress to get there.”

The next aisles that will see a more eco-friendly makeover – with compostable bags – will be the Ferraro Foods produce department and bakery.

“This will happen in the next month as we deplete our stocks,” explained Ferraro. “We believe our customers are very environmentally conscious so we are giving them the options to be environmentally conscious. “

The stores will also be bringing in collapsible boxes as a re-usable alternative, and they will continue to offer the 99 cent Ferraro Foods cloth bags, which have been available for years.

For those who forget to bring their own bags, the Trail store may soon follow suit with what Rossland does, by using the honour system and offering a bin of reusable bags at no charge. The expectation is for the shopper to return it on their next visit.

“These alternatives are to move away from plastic,” said Ferraro. “And so far, they’ve all been really well received.”

In addition to Ferraro Foods, grocery store chains in Trail have long offered customers reusable bags for a nominal fee, though they continue to have plastic bags at the till.

Kurtis’ No Frills sells “Hauler” bags and more recently, bright yellow “Hauler” bins.

The store still provides plastic bags for 5 cents a piece, though there may soon be the alternative of paper.

“I know there is talk above our head here, within the corporation, that they are planning on going plastic-less,” Store Associate Colton Crockett told the Trail Times.

Canada Safeway in East Trail continues to offer cloth bags and no-cost plastic bags at the till.


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