Lazy Acres Market will be hosting the grand opening of SafeLaunch’s new, 100 percent cotton shopping bag service from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Aug. 17. The nonprofit SafeLaunch will also be registering new members for the service.

Single-use plastic bags have received a lot of attention locally and statewide. Many nearby counties and communities have banned plastic bags, and instituted a mandatory charge for paper bags. Santa Barbara is soon to implement its own plastic-bag ordinance.

Consumers all over are being encouraged to take groceries home in reusable shopping bags to minimize landfill impact and prevent bags from endangering fragile sea life.

SafeLaunch, a new local teen addiction prevention nonprofit organization, has invented a reusable cotton shopping bag service. In partnership with Ablitt’s Fine Cleaners and SafeLaunch, Lazy Acres will load grocery items into soft and strong SafeLaunch Cotton Bags at the check stand for all registered shoppers. The new service costs Lazy Acres shoppers nothing. The Cotton Bags are conveniently picked up from the front porch of shoppers’ homes by Ablitt’s Fine Cleaners free of charge or returned by the customer to Ablitt’s, if desired.

“Convenient reusable containers are a ‘retro’ idea whose time has returned,” said Ron Cuff, co-founder of SafeLaunch. “Some of us can remember when milk was delivered in reusable bottles. A ‘milk man’ picked up empty milk bottles on the front porch, resulting in fewer trips to the store in the family gas-guzzler. Wasn’t that a great service?”

“I have a trunk full of ugly polypropylene bags that I tend to forget,” said Janet Rowse, SafeLaunch co-founder and spouse of Santa Barbara Mayor Pro Tem Randy Rowse. “With my Cotton Bag membership card, I don’t need to drag another dirty old bag into the store. I get as many fresh, clean, cotton bags as I need, and Ablitt’s picks them up at my house.

“These Cotton Bags are just as convenient as plastic or paper bags, yet much friendlier to our beautiful community and ocean.”

Bags are provided courtesy of Cox Communications (Cox Conserves,) Santa Barbara Roto Rooter (Roto Green), MarBorg Industries, Deckers Outdoor Corp. and the Hampton Inn Santa Barbara/Goleta.

Shoppers who sign up for the bag service at Lazy Acres, 302 Meigs Road in Santa Barbara, between 10 a.m. and noon Saturday will be entered in a raffle to win a Paso Robles wine
country weekend, a Santa Barbara harbor cruise, a Lazy Acres gift card, a sightseeing flight over Santa Barbara, or a lunch for two at Paradise Cafe. No purchase is necessary.

— Janet Rowse is a co-founder of SafeLaunch.