SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Business

January 29, 2014

Marblehead plastic, foam ban could be a mixed bag, businesses say

(Continued)

The management of Crosby’s Marketplace on Washington Street is speaking out against the bid, saying the company has made efforts to reduce both paper and plastic bags. The company also has a store in Manchester, where a similar ban went into effect Jan. 1.

Such a ban only increases the use of paper bags, which also impact the environment, considering the loss of trees and the amount of water used to produce them, said Bob Vello, general manager of the chain. Paper bags are more expensive at 10 cents each, he said. Plastic ones are 3 cents.

“We prefer educating our customers, and we promote reusable bags,” he said. “If everyone did that, there would very few paper or plastic bags.”

Crosby’s donates 5 cents to a charity every time customers bring their own reusable bags, Vello said.

At the Manchester Crosby’s, the company decided to provide only paper bags without handles to bring the cost down, Vello said.

“We do have a number of customers that are surprised we don’t have plastic bags,” he said. “We do have some customers who prefer plastic, but we can’t have them.”

Manchester Selectman Paul Barclay said there haven’t been any problems since the ban went into effect earlier this month. However, the board did extend the ban’s effective date to January — it had been scheduled to take effect last July — because several small business owners were unaware the ban would apply them, he said.

“It has been seamless,” he said. “I haven’t received a single complaint, and here we are in the third week of January.”

He said he often shops at Crosby’s, which was the largest retailer affected in town.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Crosby’s is selling more reusable bags,” Barclay said. “Maybe it is good for everybody.”

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