Grocery pick up = awesome. The plastic bags are not.

I love.love.love that I can order my groceries online and then pick them up four hours later. My secret trick is to schedule all my “pick ups” (Dillons, Wal-mart, Target and Sam’s) within the same hour. I can shop at four different stores in 60 minutes – it’s a win-win and a huge timesaver.

But then…

Plastic bags. Everywhere. Enough plastic bags to fill the Hudson River.

Why do they have to use so many? And sometimes there is only one or two items in a bag. I understand not mixing raw meat with fresh produce, but the unfilled bags I’m seeing are packaged goods. Can you not put a loaf of bread in with a box of crackers? Why must those items each have their own bag? Disclaimer: Sam’s does not use plastic bags.

I use reusable shopping bags and produce bags when I visit the store – but I tend to use the pick up option more often than going inside, which leads to plastic bag overload.

Yes, I’m complaining with no suggestion for a fix. I’ve heard mixed comments about calling the store and asking for minimal bags – some stores will do it and others won’t. And I get it, there’s a specific process for the workers who are fulfilling online orders, and adding the “please use as few bags as possible” request to your order may cause confusion.

The convenience of grocery pick up comes with a price. 😕

Eight states—California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon and Vermont—have banned single-use plastic bags, and several cities in other states have banned them without state legislation.

In areas banning plastic bags, people are required to bring their own bags, or can purchase paper or plastic bags from the store for a small fee.

But how does that work with a pick-up option? You are automatically charged a fee based on the number of bags used? That could work, except for the “one item in a bag” situation. This would mean the customer is paying a fee for every bag used. The store would have to fill the bags appropriately, as to not waste any room and upset the customer.

You could try having the customer bring back reusable bags for a credit on their next shopping trip, but I can see that being a major nightmare. How would the bags be cleaned? Who is in charge of monitoring the inventory? I would take a major shift in consumer behavior to make that work, and in case you have noticed, we Americans are resistant to change.

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