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ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- In honor of Earth Day, regional natural food supermarket chain Earth Fare here is rolling out its new plastic bag-recycling program at all store locations on April 22. Customers can stop by and place their plastic bags in the specified containers.
The plastic bag-recycling program will enable Earth Fare to recycle approximately 50,000 pounds of plastic materials each year and effectively remove 10 metric tons carbon equivalent (MTCE) from the air. The bags will then be reincarnated into various items like industrial trash can liners, wood-polymer lumber for decking and building materials, drain pipes, plastic envelopes, and even new plastic bags.
This new recycling program was implemented by Liz Bowen, Earth Fare's environmental coordinator, who was hired in January 2006 to evaluate recycling and waste reduction efforts companywide.
Since coming on board at Earth Fare, Bowen has been gathering waste and energy baseline data from all 12 stores within the chain. She aims to use the data as a benchmark to measure the success of future waste and energy reduction programs that she plans to implement. Some of those future plans include composting, bio-diesel fuel for Earth Fare delivery trucks, wind energy credits, and expanding the recycling categories currently available for customers at Earth Fare stores.
"Implementing the plastic bag-recycling program was a great beginning project for my work with Earth Fare, and a perfect addition to the recycling programs we already offer our customers," said Bowen in a statement. "The joy for me in this job comes from connecting the dots -- figuring out what items found in our trash can be made into something useful like furniture, building supplies, and fuel. Recycling just makes good sense. One day we will look back and be astounded at the wasted resources in our waste."
All Earth Fare locations offer customers recycling for plastic 1 and 2, paper, glass, aluminum, batteries, cell phones, and now, plastic shopping bags.
"These offerings will continue to expand as Liz creates and implements new ways for Earth Fare to grow in a greener direction," said Troy DeGroff, director of sales and marketing. "Through these conscientious efforts and our commitment to community service, we are making strides in contributing to...a healthy environment, which is a vital part of Earth Fare's mission."
Earth Fare operates natural foods supermarkets in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee.