Roanoke’s local food co-op is sacking single-use plastic bags.

The Roanoke Co+op, with locations in downtown and Grandin, plans to stop offering plastic shopping bags at checkout after Aug. 31.

This builds on the shop’s mission to promote eco-conscious living. Paper bags will remain available.

The co-op encourages shoppers to bring their own reusable totes. Since 2010, customers who BYOB — Bring Your Own Bag — have been rewarded with a token that can be used to make a donation to a rotating selection of local nonprofits.

Shoppers who’ve taken part have helped prevent some 865,000 plastic bags from being added to the waste stream in the years since then, according to the shop.

Other steps taken by the co-op including making the switch to paper straws and offering durable paper bags for produce and bulk goods.

Roanoke shoppers are increasingly looking for more eco-friendly options amid growing concern about plastic pollution, said General Manager Bruce Phlegar.

“We are committed to reducing single-use plastic in our stores,” said Phelgar, adding that research indicates that a single plastic bag can take 1,000 years to decompose.

“That’s a long time for something to hang around that may have been used for just 15 minutes,” he said. “It’s time we all work together to reduce our dependency on single use plastic.”

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Alicia Petska covers what's happening in Roanoke County and the City of Salem.

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