Phoenix Books has a New Year’s resolution: no more plastic bags

Michael DeSanto’s New Year’s resolution for Phoenix Books is to make the business a plastic bag-free zone.

As of Jan. 1, the Vermont-based independent bookstore chain – with locations in Essex, Burlington, Rutland and Chester – has quit handing out plastic bags at their checkout counters.  The alternatives are recycled/recyclable paper bags or reusable totes sold at or below cost.

“I cannot turn a blind eye to the catastrophic effect plastic in general and plastic bags in particular have on our environment,” said DeSanto, co-owner of the business. “Despite the challenges of finding sturdy replacements to protect the purchases of our customers, I am determined to make plastic bags disappear from our stores. I strongly believe this is the right thing to do.”

DeSanto noted that petroleum makes up 80 percent of the content of a plastic bag. Ending their use in the stores will take a step toward reducing the demand for that fossil fuel, he said.

The Chittenden Solid Waste District praised the bookstore’s move. “We applaud Phoenix Books for encouraging the use of durable, reusable bags whenever possible,” said Michele Morris, the district’s director of outreach and communications.

Morris also noted that plastic bags, wrappings, and other similar materials do not belong in recycling bins but can be recycled at special collection sites. Find details of locations on the district’s website or by calling 872-8111.

Established in 2007, Phoenix Books promotes social responsibility, community, and sustainability. The independent bookstore chain is a member of Local First Vermont and Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility.

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