Ingles Market/Plastic Bag Recycling: For the ecoconscious Foodie
You have to buy your groceries somewhere, so, for your consideration:
I visited the Ingles at the intersection of Patton Ave. and Leicester Highway this evening at approximately 10 pm. Upon leaving the store at 10:15 pm, I encountered two young men apparently in charge of taking out the trash. The had in a cart the contents of the trash bins and the plastic bag recycling bin. One young man, apparently in training, asked the other "what do we do with this" to which the other replied, "just throw it all out". Now, I'm by no means a "hippie" but I am certainly environmentally conscious and I am aware that plastic bags take over 7,000 years to break down in our landfills. I know that if my friends and neighbors who went through the trouble of collecting their plastic bags for recycling and bringing them to Ingles for the purpose of recycling found out that Ingles simply took their bags and threw them away, they'd be outraged. When I got to my car, I called the store. I asked the young woman who answered if the store manager, listed at the top of the receipt, Mike Brow, was there. As it was Sunday night, Mike Brown was not available. I asked for the manager on duty. The girl told me to hold for "Tom". When Tom came to the phone, I relayed my concern to him, and he was immediately sarcastic and rude. He said, "It is Ingles policy to recycle plastic bags". I told Tom that I realized that this was the policy and I was very glad that it was, I was simply concerned that the two young men in charge of implementing it at his store this specific evening were implementing it incorrectly. To that, Tom was excessively flippant and sarcastically told me he'd "just go fire them then". I told him that I thought that that was unnecessary and that he probably should just make sure that they understood the policy and why it was important. Tom made another snide remark "thanking [me] for telling him how to do his job. At this point, I asked Tom for his last name. Tom said, "You don't need my last name". I told him that I would like to have it so that I could contact his district manager. Tom hung up the phone.
It's unfortunate, but I've read the same thing elsewhere. Yes I would call that to the attention of Ingles' management, but I'd also write a brief letter to the local media. That way there might be some action. Best of all, if you really want to pursue it, contact whomever at some local media outlet does those business expose type stories and try to get them interested. They love stories like that, especially if the target is not a big advertiser with them (although it a a field that may well already have been plowed).
All that said, the US (ie all of us) is still not doing very well in the sphere of recycling, including plastic bags which pale in importance to many others. In the case of the bags, I suppose the only viable solution is to require biodegradeable ones, but too many of our leaders kowtow to the Ingles of the world because they are more interested in getting big campaign contributions to be re-elected now than in passing laws that solve problems like that for generations to come. Sad but true.
As an update, I called Ingles customer service and just got a call back from the district manager. He assured me that not only does Ingles care about the environment, but they profit from selling the recycled plastic bags.
He also assured me that I would have no further problems with Tom, whatever that might mean.
Take it as you will.