By Sarah Gianelli EBS Associate Editor

BIG SKY – On Jan. 18, Roxy’s Market introduced a new grocery bag that has already dramatically reduced their disposable bag usage from 50 cases per week of the standard-issue plastic grocery bag to eight of the replacement product.

The green super bags are made from recycled materials, and are 100 percent biodegradable. Because of their strength and durability, they can carry 25-35 percent more than the average plastic grocery bag, and stand-up to repeated reuse. In fact, a test proved they could carry a minimum of 25 pounds over a distance of 175 feet, at least 125 times. They are even machine-washable.

According to a representative of Hippo Sak, the California-based manufacturer, the bags are made with polyethylene instead of petroleum. Polyethylene, while still a plastic, can be broken down by ultraviolet light and micro-organisms. However, because most Montana trash ends up buried in landfills where it doesn’t receive the prerequisite light or oxygen, the bag’s real asset is a reduced bag usage estimated at 30 percent.

“We use an insane amount of plastic at this store alone,” said Roxy’s Store Manager Josh Treasure, adding that Roxy’s two other locations in Montecito, California, and Aspen, Colorado, had already made the switch to greener bags.

He said that the Big Sky location is losing money on the bags even with the 15-cent charge, but it acts as an incentive. Treasure said he has been amazed by how many people have started bringing their own bags or reusing the one they got at Roxy’s.

As far as his personal motivation to introduce the greener product, Treasure said, “we live in a beautiful place—the least we can do is try to take one step and help the environment.”