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Local Supermarkets Get Graded on Reusable Bag Practices

Stop & Shop tops list of Smithtown supermarkets with an A+ grade from Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

A Long Island non-profit group has released a report grading local supermarkets like Uncle Giuseppes, Stop & Shop and Waldbaums on their reusable bag practices and policies.

In the report released Thursday, Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) gave Stop & Shop an A-plus grade, but gave Uncle Giuseppes an F.

Stop & Shop, with a location on Main Street in Smithtown, scored well based on its availability of reusable shopping bags, its signage in stores and parking lots reminding customers to use them, and its offering of a five cent credit per reusable bag customers use at checkout lines.

"Stop and Shop has long taken a proactive approach to working with federal, state and local officials to support efforts that will make a real difference in this area," said Faith Weiner, director of public affairs for Stop & Shop.

Uncle Giuseppes, which sells reusable bags and has signs in the store encouraging customers to use them but does not offer a credit when customers reuse shopping bags, responded to the report in a statement released Friday.

"Uncle Giuseppe's sells reusable shopping bags in all four of our stores so that customers who want to avoid using plastic bags have an environmentally-friendly alternative," said Arielle Brechisci, Information Specialist for Giuseppe's. "Last month, Uncle Giuseppe's gave away 2,500 free reusable shopping bags at the Long Island Ducks stadium."

Uncle Giuseppe's was penalized for not responding promptly to CCE's inquiries, a factor that Brechisci thinks was not fair.

"At this time, we believe the methodology used to determine our score is questionable," she said. "When we reexamined our scores, we found incorrect math. We were also penalized in our scores for not getting back to them right away.  We were in the middle of opening our Port Jefferson location and could not get back to them that soon."

Waldbaums and Pathmark received B-plus grades on the Citizens Campaign report, while Target and Wild by Nature received B grades. 

The report assessed supermarkets on nine criteria, including availability and cost of reusable shopping bags, signage in stores, windows and parking lots, discounts for reusing bags, cashier training, and willingness to participate in the consumer study.

"Grocery stores have helped create the problem of disposable bags and now we need them to help solve this problem," said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. "We hope all stores use this report as an opportunity to implement policies that encourage consumers to make the switch to reusable bags."

Michael Leverett Dorn, PhD April 16, 2011 at 10:18 PM
I am not surprised by the F minus score to Uncle Giuseppe's regarding their grocery bag policies and practices. I was recently on a hike on the Long Island Greenbelt Trail that runs from the Great South Bay (Hecksher State Park) and Long Island Sound (Sunken Meadow Beach) through Smithtown. Whatever policies Uncle Giuseppe's maintains in their stores, the proof of their disregard for the environment can be seen in the sorry state of their waste disposal. The trail south of the UG's location at 95 Route 111 in Smithtown was absolutely covered with bags and other trash items that the hike leaders informed me regularly blow out of the Uncle Giuseppe's dumpster and across their parking lot to get lodged in the woods. Hikers who make the effort to carry away the trash find themselves defeated when they return to find this section of Long Island's signature trail "trashed" again. If Uncle Giuseppe's wants credit for green policies and practices, I suggest that they parner with the Long Island Greenbelt Trail Conference and "adopt" the mile of trail that passes directly south of their Smithtown location. Folks who want to help make this happen are welcome to contact me, Michael Leverett Dorn PhD <michael.dorn@stonybrook.edu>

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