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Debate over plastic bags tears apart Brooklyn grocery co-op

By: Don Loepp

July 17, 2013

You wouldn't expect plastic bags to have many fans in a place like a co-op grocery store in Brooklyn's Park Slope neighborhood. But there's an amusing story on The Brooklyn Paper's website today that tells the tale of a battle over plastic that's threatening to tear apart an institution that's described as a "famously progressive, shopper-run grocery store."

I really love the headline on Natalie Musumeci's story, "Park Slope Food Coop vs. the plastic menace."

The first graph is an inspired piece of writing, too: "First they came for the plastic bags. Now they are coming for the other plastic bags."

The debate isn't about single-use T-shirt bags. The Park Slope Food Co-op banned those in 2008. This battle is about the bags that customers use to package produce, like "organic bunched kale and bulk grains," according to the report. The store goes through about 7,000 of the bags per day.

The store's environmental committee wants to ban the plastic bags and encourage shoppers to instead get reusable cotton drawstring bags. But there's opposition from those who like the safety — and, no doubt, the convenience — of the plastic bags.

Enjoy the story — and the reader comments. And keep in mind that as grocery bag bans spread across California and elsewhere (see "Summer of 2013 a busy time for plastic bag bans"), this is a debate that could play out elsewhere in the near future.