Market launches effort to mark Earth Day

Inspired by other stores across the nation that have taken the lead in reusable bag initiatives, Williamsport’s Freshlife natural products supermarket has begun to limit the use of plastic bags in the store, a news release said.

Cities all over the United States, and countries including Ireland and India, are banning the plastic bag permanently from stores and markets in an attempt to limit the environmental impact they have on the world at large.

“When some of us at Freshlife started reading scary facts about plastic bag waste, we decided we wanted to do something about it,” store owner Erin Roush said.

According to research, an estimated 60,000 plastic bags are used in the US every five seconds alone, and upwards of 93 percent, according to a 2007 study, are never recycled, ending up in rivers, lakes, and oceans, where they decompose for 100 years while leeching toxic chemicals into our water and strangling wildlife. Thousands of sea turtles, sea birds and other ocean mammals have shrinking populations due to the number of wasted plastic bags floating in the waters that are mistaken as food.

The average family accumulates 60 plastic bags in only four trips to the grocery store.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually.

Beginning April 1, Freshlife launched their “Buy a Bag – Bring a Bag” campaign for environmental change. Each customer who refuses a plastic bag, or who purchases a reusable bag, or brings their own reusable grocery bag to the store is eligible to win a Freshlife gift card, to be drawn on Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22, according to a news release.

“We have two styles of canvas totes with the Freshlife logo, and mesh produce bags made from organic cotton, as well as our beautiful African market baskets available for purchase,” Roush said.

“We’ve also placed informational shelf talkers about the dangers of plastic bags throughout the store, and we’ve been running a daily tally of how many members of our community have said no to plastic bags,” she continued.

“On Earth Day, three customers will win a $10 Freshlife gift card, our way of saying thank you for doing your part to support a healthy planet,” Roush explained.

Since 1970, Earth Day has been part of the social movement to anchor all people of planet Earth in the knowledge that clean air, clean water, and a clean planet take action to achieve. Earth Day has brought about many educational initiatives as well as environmental action groups such as Earth Watch, The Clean Water Action and The Responsible Drilling Alliance. Earth Day inspires action in small or large parts to help make the Earth a better place for our children to inherit.

Founded in 1981, Freshlife is the largest independently owned natural products supermarket in Pennsylvania.