Back when I was a little kid I was amazed that this grocery store charged you to use a shopping cart. I also was surprised they didn't have bags. Now I'm talking about 1978 here, so I could be misremembering that. I was six. It was part of the deal of shopping there. You bring your bags, you pack your stuff. I'm talking about Aldi, of course. And if I remember right, they're pulling a page from their past as they become the first Missouri grocery store to ditch plastic bags.

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Using your bags, or finding an empty box to put your purchases in at Aldi has always been a thing. If you don't want to buy their reusable bags or pay for their plastic bags. Paying for their plastic bags has just become a thing of the past as they recently announced they met their goal to remove all plastic shopping bags from their stores at the end of 2023.

Aldi says the elimination of the bags will prevent nearly 4,400 tons of plastic from going into circulation each year. That's equivalent to 20 Lady Liberties.

In a letter to customers, Aldi Chief Executive Officer Jason Hart writes, "At ALDI, we’re raising the bar on sustainability without raising prices for you, our shoppers. To start the year off strong, I am proud to announce that ALDI has become the first major U.S. retailer to eliminate plastic shopping bags from our more than 2,300 stores."  He goes on to remind customers to bring their reusable bags, or to purchase some of Aldi's exclusive reusable bags at checkout.

Because of their history, and the fact that they've charged for bags and have a customer base where I'd assume many were already bringing their bags, boxes, or whatever to cart their groceries home it doesn't surprise me they've been the first major grocer to ditch the plastic bags.

I suspect we may see plastic bags go away altogether eventually, however, I'm skeptical that most chains will ditch the convenience of offering some type of bags for their consumers. Will it be the return of the paper sacks? Will there be a nominal charge for them? I could see both things happening. Some places already have a nominal charge for plastic bags, the newsstands at Chicago's O'Hare airport are one place.

Heck, could the nominal charge be a 10-cent deposit, that you get back when the paper sack has been used again and again and you return it to be recycled at the end of its lifecycle? Sounds a little ridiculous to me, but then again, there seems to be a lot that's ridiculous about living life in the 21st Century.

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