I’m Calling Out Rouses for Using Too Many Plastic Bags

Rouses is a statewide supermarket chain that has three locations in New Orleans. Although Rouses is a vast improvement over the awful Sav-A-Center grocery stores that they bought out, my major quip with the Rouses is that the cashiers and bag boys/girls use an outrageous amount of plastic bags when they bag groceries. A common practice is to place one or two items per bag, so that if you buy six items you have nearly as many bags. Additionally, cashiers don’t seem to notice when I bring a canvas bag. It always feels obnoxious to repeat, “Excuse me, I’m sorry… I brought a bag.” This happens at every single location I’ve been to, even outside of Orleans Parish.  It’s upsetting.

In January 2010 Washington D.C. implemented a 5 cent tax on all plastic bags. Although it’s only 5 cents, I shook my fist in anger when I got caught with the fee. I never wanted to pay it! The tax has also made DC merchants a lot more sensitive to how they bag your groceries. It’d be a long time before Louisiana passed a progressive environmental law, but this blog post is my 5 cents of advocacy and publicity.

A Pictorial Investigation of Rouses Bagging Practices
Last week I made a trip to the Rouses and purposefully didn’t bring any bags. Once at home, I took photos of my all the bags used.

I purchased 27 items and was given 10 bags.

This bag has room for more items.

There is clearly more room in this bag. Perhaps it could’ve been combined with the bags of vegetables.

Four bags with one item each. However, given that I purchased beer, wine, chicken and cupcakes, which are all in delicate cases, I think it’s okay each item has its own bag. (I realize you, dear reader, are going to make fun of my purchases.)

There are only two items here! Unacceptable!

This bag has two items. As you can see, there is room for more.

I believe these groceries are the only ones properly bagged from the shopping trip.

Again, two items with room for more.

If I acquiesce the four items given individual bags, than Rouses used six bags for 23 items. I believe the cashiers could’ve consolidated, what do you think? And have you had this same experience at Rouses?

I’m going to send this post to someone at Rouses, in hopes this will draw attention to their irresponsible bagging practices.


Recycling in NOLA Update: Abita Cans Arrive this Weekend

I’ve got more information about topics I’ve written about here on the blog

Back in July I wrote about the state of recycling in NOLA. In the post, I mentioned that Abita, the most well-known local beer, only come in glass bottles, which you cannot recycle in New Orleans. That’s all in the past, now! This Saturday, Abita is hosting a bar crawl in celebration of the release of cans of Amber, Purple Haze and Jockamo IPA– just in time for Mardi Gras!

NOLA Brewery, which I toured last XX, released cans of its awesome NOLA Blond last October. On February 15, their Brown Ale will debut in can form.

Baton Rouge’s Tin Roof beer is also available in cans.

NOLA Blonde in cans, purchased for research purposes only.

The plastic rings are also recyclable!

Where Y’At, Kind of New Orleanian Blog?

I have been a bad, bad blogger. It’s been two weeks since my last post. Shame, I have it.

But I also have a good excuse–moving. My boyfriend and I said goodbye to our lovely Uptown sublease, traveled to D.C., packed up my life there, drove  south in a 15-foot truck (with my cat) and arrived back here to a new place in Mid City. I’ll write up some of my thoughts from those events in upcoming posts, but for now I’ll update y’all* on some things I’ve blogged about before.

Recently I wrote about recycling in New Orleans. A few days after the post went up, the Times-Pic published the article New Orleans Recycling Efforts Not a waste, but Has a Long Way to Go. The article is optimistic, and says that NOLA has diverted approximately two percent of its waste from the landfill.

In my recycling post I mentioned my disappointment with the city for not recycling glass, especially because Abita (arguably the most consumed beer in the city) comes exclusively in bottles. Well, big up to this Big Easy brewery, because it announced on July 25 that three of its most popular flavors will come in cans, starting in 2012.

Austin Updates: My Questions Answered
In June, when I wrote about my experience driving through Austin. I quote myself (how narcissistic) “I don’t remember hearing much about Austin in the 1990s. I am also curious as to how the city became what it is. A friend said she’d send me a link to a set of stories NPR did on the city’s growth.”

Lizette made good on her promise: Austin, TX, Growing Pains. It’s from this rad site called “State of the Reunion,” which explores how American cities and towns create community and cultural narratives about the uniqueness of these places. Basically, I’m going to read and listen the hell out of this site… as soon as my boyfriend and I get internet in our new place.

*trying to use “y’all”



Beads and Beer: Recycling in NOLA

The shrine to Abita that I had in my DC apartment.

This May, recycling finally returned to post-Katrina New Orleans. You can recycle paper, plastic, metals and cardboard. But not glass.* Recycling is costly, and glass hasn’t proven economically viable. It’s hard not to cringe when contemplating all the glass that must be thrown out around here, considering how much alcohol is consumed in this city. Abita, a local brewery (and by far the most pervasive beer in the city), comes exclusively in glass bottles.

The sublease I’m staying at until August cannot accommodate recycling; the subleaser says that the city has strange rules about condominium recycling. Accordingly, my boyfriend and I have been dropping off our recycling at Whole Foods. On our first trip there we discovered a bin for recycling Mardi Gras beads. This seems very New Orleanian. The city doesn’t provide a service found in most metropolitan areas, but understands the necessity to wash and resell the bartering commodity of Mardi Gras. It’s these little aspects of the city that make me roll my eyes… and then smile. It’s a backwards place, but there is charm in the aspects of the life only found here.

NOLA Brewing
There are some local companies that are thinking smart about recycling. NOLA Brewery recently announced that it will begin selling its beer in cans! On Friday, we went to the NOLA brewery for their weekly tour and our tour guide said the company purposefully chose cans because they can be recycled in the city. He acknowledged that people look down upon canned beer, but advised that all beer (whether from a glass or bottle) tastes best when poured into a pint. The beer cans should be on shelves around the city in the 4-6 months.

The taps at the NOLA brewery

In a city where Abita is king, NOLA Brewery has already made their presence known. They started in 2009 with two brews, NOLA Blonde and NOLA Brown, and have added two more year-round brews and four seasonals. Many of these beers are available in bars and restaurants throughout the city. Our tour guide  said that the company hopes to saturate the local and regional markets before they can begin to establish a national presence.

Although I love those Abita bottles (see: shrine picture above), maybe I’ll switch to Abita on tap.

*You can drop off your glass for recycling at Target and at NOLA Glass.