Heartland Goodwill stores go green, get rid of plastic bags

Updated: Jan. 15, 2019 at 10:29 AM CST
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - First Starbucks took away plastic straws and now Goodwill stores in the Heartland will stop carrying plastic bags.

The effort continues a trend of different stores reducing their impact on the environment by ‘going green’ and replacing common plastic with something reusable.

MERS Goodwill is making the change at it's 42 retail store in the greater St. Louis area.

That includes the Goodwill locations in Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Marion, Poplar Bluff and Sikeston.

Katryna Preston frequently shops at the Goodwill in Cape. She is excited the store is going ‘bagless’ and thinks the store it could be the start of something big.

“I think the fact that they are trying to reduce their carbon footprint is a great thing,” Preston said. “I just see trash bags floating around on the highway, in front of my apartment building. It takes so long to clean up and they have such a long half life. I mean their plastic they are made of petroleum products and so they are going to take forever to decompose."

Kristy Lance, the Vice President of Retail, says their Goodwill locations go through about more than 3 million plastic bags each year.

She hopes to set an example and encourages other big box stores to also ditch single use plastic bags.

"We're talking about billions and trillions of bags here, so we hope that other people follow in our footsteps,” Lance said. “We know that some people on the East coast and West coast are already doing this but it's time for the Midwest to get on board and it's time for us to think about our world that we live in."

The plastic product is being replaced with reusable shopping bags that cost one dollar.

Lance says they are made out of recycled plastics and that they are not looking to make a profit on them.

"Once you figure in the cost of shipping and handling. There is really no profit to made and that is not the point,” Lance said. “The point is to provide a reusable bag at an affordable cost to help our customers get on board with this task with us."

Preston says she has plenty of reusable bags and keeps them in her car so she always remembers to bring them inside a store.

"If you happen to forget your bag its just a dollar,” Preston said. “I mean how much do you spend on one cup of coffee everyday."

Lance says it will take week or two for every store in the Heartland to make the switch from plastic to reusable bags.

Goodwill also has containers now where you can recycle your single use plastic bags.

“So if people in the community of Cape don’t have a place to go now you do,” Lance said. “You bring your plastic bags to Goodwill and we are going to take them and we are going to properly recycle them and keep them out of the oceans and out of the landfills.”

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