Ray's, Shop Smart adopting new policy

Beginning Monday, plastic bags will no longer be offered to customers at three of Del Norte County's grocery stores.

CandK Market, Inc., which owns the Ray's Food Place stores in Crescent City and Smith River, as well as the Shop Smart store in Crescent City, said in a press release that it was making the change as part of a "renewed commitment to be a leader ... when it comes to responsible, sustainable practices regarding plastic bag waste."

Customers will have two options: free paper bags or 99-cent reusable bags, both made from recyclable material.

The stores will offer 5-cent bag refunds to customers who bring their own.

"By making this change, we hope to make a positive impact on each local and regional community we serve," said Greg Sandeno President and CEO of CandK Market, Inc., in the press release. "We hope other retailers in our area will join us in this initiative."

By using reusable bags or even paper bags twice a week for two years, a customer would replace more than 400 plastic bags, the press release said.

Americans throw away about 100 billion plastic bags annually, according to Worldwatch, an environmental research group, and it takes more than 1,000 years for a non-recyclable plastic bag to break down in a landfill.

CandK Market, Inc., based in Brookings, Ore., operates 65 grocery stores and 15 pharmacies under the banners of Ray's Food Place, Shop Smart, CandK Market, Lo Buck$, Pharmacy Express, Chetco Pharmacy and Tiffany's Drug.