Ingles’ “go bagless” campaign a success in Bryson

A group of eco-conscious citizens and Ingles grocery store in Bryson City teamed up last month to encourage shoppers to use their own canvas bags when shopping, cutting down on wasteful plastic bags.

The group set up a booth in the Ingle’s parking lot one Saturday and handed out canvas bags — 300 of them in all. To make it more fun, people were able to decorate their own bags.

“It was very well received,” said Carolyn Allison, one of the organizers and a rafting operator in the Gorge.

While environmentally-minded shoppers often have the best of intentions to use their own bags, remembering to bring them along when heading to the grocery store can be a different story and instead they find themselves cringing at the check out line as they once again burn through more plastic bags.

But Ingle’s store manager Mike Smith said he has seen many of the canvas bags coming through the check out line since the campaign.

“I have seen them used quite frequently,” Smith said.

The effort was organized by the Watershed Association for the Tuckasegee River and a local club called the Green Women. When the groups told Smith about their idea, he welcomed it.

“It turned out really well. I saw a lot of interest in it,” Smith said.

In fact, the manager of the Ingles in Waynesville heard about the canvas bag blitz and called Smith to learn more.

“Word had got all the way up there,” Smith said. “He’d heard about it from a customer and wanted to know if it was something they could do.”

Smith said he supports the environment, but there’s another benefit as well.

“It saves us cost on ordering bags,” Smith said.

— By Becky Johnson

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