The other day we had a story about how Canada is looking to ban many single-use plastic items by 2021, including bags, straws, cutlery and stirring sticks, to cut harmful waste damaging the country's ecosystems.

I asked:

I wonder if it will be like in the US, where too many companies decide to litigate the issue and overturn the decision rather than addressing the challenge. (Am I too cynical?)

MNB reader Lisa Malmarowski responded:

You are absolutely not too cynical. We operate in a state where was a ban on plastic bag bans enacted by our former “leadership”.

No matter, we’ve made the pledge as small grocer with 4 stores to eliminate single use, petroleum plastic in our operations by 2020.

Seriously, if we can do it, surely big grocers can as well.

We have switched to only paper or home-compostable starch-based bags in produce, we haven’t had plastic grocery bags for years, and that’s just the beginning.




MNB took note recently of a Fast Company< i> story about how a cadre of employees at Amazon is pushing their employer to take a more aggressive stand on the issue of climate change.

I commented:

Fascinating stuff, and mostly, I think, because it happens in a climate (no pun intended) where employees more and more - at least in some companies - feel empowered to push their bosses to be more engaged with issues of import to them. It is climate change, but it also can be gender equality, and dealing with toxic workplaces.

I must say, I think this is great. I grew up at a time when employees never spoke up about such things, and in retrospect, shame on us. I’m glad there has been progress, but there needs to be more. As a customer, I want to patronize companies that take stuff like this seriously.


Prompting one MNB reader to write:

Wow—you politicize everything!

You won’t eat at a restaurant owned by a womanizer.  You won’t watch movies directed by or acted in by a wrongdoer. You won’t shop at a chain with an executive who’s expressed an opinion you disagree with.

What a challenge it must be to keep your enemies-list up-to-date!


These are not my enemies … and I don’t think of this as politicizing everything.

Feeling weird about patronizing a restaurant owned by Mario Batali doesn’t strike me as all that radical. Nor does deciding to avoid movies made by Woody Allen. I’m not trying to be “woke.” Just trying to be awake to the world around me and support as best I can companies and institutions that I think are in synch with my values.

There are certain ways in which we can express our values. How we treat other people. How we decide to spend our money. How we vote.

The question, in my mind, is not why I should use such opportunities to express my values. The better question is why I wouldn’t.