MOM’s bigger than average disposable bag fee

MOM’s Organic Market began charging customers 25 cents for each single-use paper bag at checkout this week, and, while not that significant on a $150 grocery bill, it is as much as five times the bag fee charged at most other grocers.

“Most of our customers are really good at using reusable bags. But still, too many people use the disposable paper bags, and generally people don’t change behavior until there is some inconvenience, at least to serve as a reminder,” said MOM’s Organic Market founder Scott Nash.

MOM’s sells reusable bags for $2, which Nash said is below his costs.

To support efforts in reducing single-use pollution, MOM’s is donating proceeds from paper bag fees to the Anacostia Watershed Society in Bladensburg, Maryland.

MOM’s banned disposable plastic bags at its stores in 2005, the first grocery chain to ban plastic bags, and five years later became the first retail chain to ban the sale of plastic bottled water.

MOM’s stores avoided more than 2.6 million disposable bags by customers in 2021, according to its most recent sustainability report.

MOM’s has 16 stores in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, and has recently expanded to New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania as well. Nash started the company selling organic produce out of his family garage in Beltsville, Maryland, in 1987.

Eliminating as many single-use bags as possible is in keeping with MOM’s overall mission, beyond selling organic groceries.

All of its stores have been powered by 100% renewable energy since 2005.

Its stores also have robust recycling programs, which have, since inception, recycled 26 tons of batteries, 343 tons of commingled recyclables, 17 tons of holiday lights, 6,500 pairs of eyeglasses, and three tons of wine bottle corks.

MOM’s also donates unsold food to more than 60 local food banks, soup kitchens and churches.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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