The End Of An Era? Will Chains Soon Bag Bags?

This is one of those end-of-an-era markers. A 31-store Colorado grocery chain with stores in Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Utah is claiming—and it seems like a very plausible claim—that it is the first chain to go entirely bag free, insisting that customers use either reusable cloth bags or less convenient cardboard boxes. To be fair, the Natural Grocers chain is an all-natural chain, which borders on being a healthfood chain, so it's rejection of paper and plastic bags certainly may not indicate a national trend. Still, the cost-savings above and beyond environmental issues are fairly significant, not to mention that packing cloth bags is likely to be slightly faster as they are sturdier and can hold more. But it also discourages last-minute shopping, at least at that chain.