PITTSFIELD -- Guido’s Fresh Marketplace in Pittsfield is following the lead of its Great Barrington store and going green.
On Tuesday, Guido’s will begin phasing out the use of thin-film handled plastic grocery bags for shoppers at its South Street market. Guido’s, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, discontinued the practice at its Great Barrington store last summer.
"We really felt that it was just time to start the movement," said Guido’s co-owner Christopher Masiero. "In Great Barrington, it’s mandatory (due to a town ordinance) but up here there hasn’t been time for Guido’s to start the revolution."
"The green revolution," Masiero said.
In response to a citizens petition, Pittsfield’s Green Commission heard arguments for and against the banning of plastic bags in May, but it is believed that Guido’s is the city’s first market to actually stop using them.
In place of plastic, shoppers in Pittsfield will be given the option of using their own bags, paper bags or boxes.
"What’s very popular in Great Barrington right now is the re-use of cardboard boxes," Masiero said.
Masiero said the transition from plastic to paper got off to a rough start in Great Barrington because Guido’s implemented the policy long before the town ordinance went into effect March 1.
But he said the transition became easier after people began to understand why Guido’s was doing it.
"Now, we just feel in our Pittsfield store we want to get more environmentally friendly and green about our practices," Masiero said.
"It’s always hard to be the first because there’s going to be a bit of controversy that goes along with it," he added. "But we have a plan in place. It’s being done over a period of time through mutual agreement and working with our customers."
Feedback toward the new policy has been positive so far.
Erica Heinlein, the front end manager for the Pittsfield market, said staffers have done their best to explain the policy to those customers who have expressed concerns.
"We sent out an e-blast in conjunction with a press release, and have been advertising it in the store," she said. "The vast majority, well over 90 percent, have been extraordinarily positive.
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