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February 23, 2020

12/5/2018 10:08:00 PM
Pioneer Market beyond the bag ban
MaryRose Denton

Sean Skiles owns Pioneer Market, which has been a family run business for generations. Change and growth go with managing a store in a close-knit community. One change the Market fully supports is reducing waste and assisting community groups.
The La Conner town council passed an ordinance banning single use plastic bags at retail stores in June. August 1st was the start date, with a waiver period of four months, making January the deadline. La Conner is the only town in Skagit County to ban single-use plastic bags.
A small pebble tossed in a pond still makes a ripple, and the small town of La Conner decided to take the first step to cleaner waterways, where even at the state level this this legislation could not pass.
Pioneer Market is, well, a pioneer in this new wave of change. Barry Whipple, store manager, anticipated some grumbling but has found “the community embracing the idea.” He sees people getting on board, viewing the reduction of single-use plastics as a positive goal and Pioneer Market will “be right with that,” Whipple said.
Over the months of transition, the store has been replacing plastic bags with a paper option, for 10 cents a bag, or customers can purchase one of two choices of cloth bags. Asked if the store offers an incentive or discount for customer-brought bags, Whipple replied, “Maybe, we will certainly look at that”.
The reusable bag can double as a fundraiser with the school district’s Braves Club. Their blue and white bags can be purchased for five dollars, with all the proceeds going directly to the organization. In addition, when a customer uses the bag for grocery shopping, a percentage of the purchase also goes to the Braves club.
“Therefore, encouraging further use of our reusable bags,” Whipple added. A purchase which keeps on giving, it helps the environment, gives back to a charity and supports a local business. For further details, stop in the Market.
Pioneer Market is looking to the future and that future looks greener. Besides keeping plastics out of local waterways, they are considering cost effective alternatives to styrofoam containers and other options for going green.
In many communities, instead of unsold produce being landfilled, it gets collected and donated to the homeless. This is an approach to sustainable living. Pioneer Market is right there with that, too: Their extra fruit and vegetables are placed in a bin behind the store for those in need.
Extra food from departments such as the deli is composted, while perishable items with close expiration dates get forwarded to the food bank. Overall, these measures means less waste go to landfills while people in need get assistance.
Think globally, act locally fits Pioneer Market’s practices.
Sean Skiles was unavailable to comment.

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Published every Wednesday in La Conner Washington
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