Walgreens and plastic prescription bags | Plastic-Free Discussion Board

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Walgreens and plastic prescription bags
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eksommer
1
November 20, 2009 - 1:46 pm

Not long ago, Walgreens switched from using paper bags for prescriptions to using plastic ones. Walgreens is one of the major drug stores in the U.S.A. They distribute millions of prescriptions daily. That means millions of plastic prescription bags, which have holes in them, so they can’t effectively even be re-used for anything else, not that I would want to!

So here is another letter writing opportunity. Let Walgreen’s know that sustainable materials are better. Here is the address:

Walgreen Co.

Gregory D. Wasson, CEO

200 Wilmot Road

Deerfiled, IL 60015

and

Walgreen Co.

Alan McNally, Chairman

200 Wilmot Road

Deerfiled, IL 60015

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Beth Terry
401 Posts
(Offline)
2
November 23, 2009 - 5:06 am

I don’t get my prescriptions at Walgreen’s, but I did notice Kaiser Permanente doing this just today. In the past, they have used paper bags. But today, they brought me my Rx in a gray plastic bag. And then, the cashier slit the bag open and handed me the bottles. She said they had to keep the bags. I guess it’s for some kind a proof that the patient came in and picked up their prescription. Or something. But I don’t understand why the switch to plastic.

Good for you for writing to Walgreen’s. I think I’m going to write to Kaiser.

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Angry Beaver
3
November 27, 2009 - 6:32 pm

I’m assuming that they’re using ziplock-type bags instead. These plastic bags can be recycled at facilities that accept plastic grocery bags.

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Beth Terry
401 Posts
(Offline)
4
November 30, 2009 - 5:24 am

Hi Angry Beaver. I don’t know about Walgreen’s, but the bags that Kaiser uses are nothing like Zip Loc bags. They are gray opaque plastic. Not sure what kind. And Kaiser takes them and keeps them for some reason. They remove the bottles and keep the bags. Weird.

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Angry Beaver
5
November 30, 2009 - 5:56 pm

My Walgreens still uses the paper bags (which I recycle). I’m new to your blog, and while I realize it’s good to eliminate plastic where we can, we need to make sure that the alternative isn’t in fact worse for the environment. Paper vs. plsatic grocery bags is one example. Reusable bags (or no bag) are the best option as far as that goes. It would also be good to highlight the ways that various plastics can be recycled.

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Beth Terry
401 Posts
(Offline)
6
November 30, 2009 - 6:16 pm

Hi again and welcome to the blog.

Because most plastics are actually downcycled, and because in this area all the plastic is shipped to China and other Asian countries, I don’t stress recycling as the answer to the plastic problem. Only when I know the plastic is actually recycled into useful products within the United States (like Preserve toothbrushes, for example) do I advocate recycling.

Otherwise, I stress bringing our own bags, bottles, utensils, containers, etc. and leaving the disposables — either paper or plastic — behind. I’m not about switching paper for plastic. You are absolutely right about the toll on the environment from paper. In fact, I’m not in favor of the new biodegradable plastics either. We just don’t know enough about them, and why should so much energy go into making products that are single-use anyway?

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