No more free grocery bags after May 1 at Cronig’s

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Shoppers will pay five cents apiece for paper grocery bags at Cronig’s Markets in Vineyard Haven and West Tisbury starting on May 1.

“The reason for it is we’re using a lot of paper bags, and we’re not, I think, being responsible for the trees it takes to make those bags happen,” Cronig’s owner, Steve Bernier, said in a phone call last week.

Mr. Bernier said he posted flyers and signs in both stores at the beginning of April so customers wouldn’t be shocked by the change on May 1.

Many grocery stores don’t offer paper bags anymore, Mr. Bernier pointed out. However, Cronig’s already is committed to using paper versus plastic, even though they cost more, he said. A paper bag costs 7.5 cents, compared to about one cent for a plastic bag.

“We are trying to charge five cents to jog shoppers’ consciousness about using bags more prudently as needed, to use recyclable bags, and to recycle paper bags, as a change from just grabbing a bunch of them, whether needed or not,” he explained. “It’s not just the money aspect, but also the environmental aspect of how many trees it takes to support that.”

“So the idea is to use the bags, and reuse them smartly,” Mr. Bernier said. “The charge is not to be punitive, not to be gouging, it’s just to help get us to focus a little bit.”