The 4th Street Food Co-op is really trying to do its part to reduce the amount of plastic consumed in NYC. We’re all familiar with the ubiquitous rolls of plastic bags that hang in stores near the produce–inviting you to tear as many as you like for transporting and storing fruits, veggies and bulk dry goods. Recently the co-op phased out the use of petroleum bags for this purpose, and replaced them with compostable bags made of non-GMO plant material.
We had a lively debate over this proposal, but ultimately decided to stop subsidizing a product which wastes non-renewable resources, increases our dependency on petroleum, contaminates water and soil, poses health risks, and burdens landfill space. The co-op has typically spent over $1000/year on disposable bags. The new bags aren’t free to the user, they cost 12 cents, but we hope you’ll agree that “free” bags have real costs to society.
Of course, if the bags go in a landfill, they will not really decompose. If you aren’t already doing so, the co-op encourages shoppers to compost these bags along with kitchen scraps. The Lower East Side Ecology Center is making that easier with their compost drop-off sites and compost programs. Have a look at their site to find where and when you can drop off compost, and what materials are accepted. You can also find out about how to create your own compost bin. As Earth Day approaches, join us in making a commitment to reduce our impact!