PCC Natural Markets applauds Seattle's "Green Fee" for disposable shopping bags and ban against foam food containers

(Seattle, Wash., April 3, 2008) — PCC Natural Markets, the nation's largest consumer-owned grocery retailer, is applauding two pioneering initiatives for sustainability announced by Greg Nickels, Mayor of the City of Seattle.

Mayor Nickels and City Council President Richard Conlin announced on April 2 that Seattle will impose an “advanced recovery (‘green’) fee” of 20 cents on each disposable paper and plastic shopping bag provided by grocery, drug and convenience stores as of January 1, 2009. The city also announced a ban against polystyrene foam (“styrofoam” style) food containers effective January 1. The purpose of both initiatives is to reduce waste and damage to the environment from non-compostable and non-recyclable bags and packaging.

PCC Natural Markets (PCC) eliminated plastic shopping bags from its eight stores in October 2007 and reduced the price on reusable totes — selling them at cost — to encourage shoppers to shift to reusable totes and bring their own bags for shopping. PCC also launched a “Think Reuse” campaign.

The response from PCC shoppers has been overwhelmingly positive. Within a month of the elimination of plastic bags, use of reusable totes increased 48 percent. More than half of PCC shoppers now routinely reuse their own bags. PCC also has been seeking an alternative to replace plastic foam meat trays and is considering several options.

PCC’s Chief Executive Officer, Tracy Wolpert, says, “Most people can understand that disposable shopping bags — whether paper or plastic — are not free for us as a business nor are they free to us as a society. Their very manufacture consumes resources and creates toxic pollutants that are unhealthy for people and the environment as a whole. Seattle’s proposed policy reflects the growing awareness about the impacts of single-use bags and will help to enable shoppers to act on their good intentions.”

PCC has been a proponent and generous supporter of eco-friendly programs and organizations throughout the Puget Sound region for many years. PCC is eager to support the city’s plan by working with officials on implementation details and by educating shoppers. Staff looks forward to evaluating creative and effective ways to apply the mandated green fee remittance to additional sustainable efforts.

About PCC Natural Markets: Headquartered in Seattle, Wash., PCC Natural Markets is a certified organic retail cooperative with annual sales of $115 million and an active membership of nearly 40,000 households. PCC operates eight stores in the Seward Park, View Ridge, Greenlake, West Seattle, Fremont, Kirkland, Redmond and Issaquah neighborhoods. A ninth store will open in Edmonds this summer. www.pccnaturalmarkets.com

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Diana Chapman
PCC Natural Markets

206-547-1222, ext. 106
206-390-6657 (cell)

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