The Daily Feed, We Green DC

Jolly Green Giants

Photo courtesy of
‘Green grass, Masonville Cove’
courtesy of ‘sidewalk flying’

In its just-released May issue, the Washingtonian names the winners of its 2010 Green Awards, which honor those who protect the environment and teach others the importance of eco-friendly living.

Loyal We Love DC readers may recognize a few names — Philip O’Neal and Rhon Hayes, co-founders of Green DMV, whose Greater Washington Green Jobs Corps graduates weatherized the Gospel Rescue Ministries homeless shelter earlier this year; Seth Goldman, co-founder of Honest Tea, who told us why he loves DC; and Tracy Bowen of the Alice Ferguson Foundation, which organized the massive Potomac River Watershed Cleanup for which We Love DC co-sponsored a site earlier this month.

See the issue for more on the efforts these and all honorees have made. A hearty congratulations to all the winners! Keep up the great green work!

The Daily Feed

Area Stores Help You Avoid the Bag Tax

Photo courtesy of
‘If Poop Grew On Trees’
courtesy of ‘maxedaperture’

The bag tax is going into effect on Friday, and you’ll be paying 5 cents for every disposable bag you use. But to take the sting out of the tax while still getting shoppers to use reusable bags (which is the point of all this anyway), several stores are partnering with the city government to make reusable bags freely available for a limited time to their customers.

At DC Giant locations, baggers will be putting customers’ purchases into reusable bags for free this Friday for a week starting this Friday, up to a quarter million bags (thanks for the correction from Giant’s PR people!). Harris Teeter locations will be giving away bags to VIC card users who spend at least $20. Safeway will be giving away reusable bags through local non-profits, while CVS will be giving them away at their locations (though Wells’ office doesn’t specify for how long). Target, on the other hand, will be providing a 5 cent discount (in addition to the 5 cent bag tax you avoid paying) for every reusable bag you provide.

Personally, I’m not a great rememberer-of-reusable-bags, but when I use them, I always ask myself why I haven’t developed better habits about it. Aside from any environmental or cost concerns, I can fit a lot more groceries in my one Kiva foldable bag (hell yeah that’s an affiliate link), and the sturdy straps on a reusable bag make it a lot easier to carry a heavy order home.

Thrifty District

Thrifty District: Salad Bar Shopping

Photo courtesy of Me

courtesy of Me

When the Murky Coffee Kerfuffle erupted last year one of the funniest comments I saw was over on Metafilter and wasn’t so much about the conflict as it was terminology. The writer took issue with the term “ghetto latte,” where a customer buys a cheaper espresso-only drink and dumps in the no-charge milk at the condiment bar.  “‘Latte arbitrage’ is a much better description, since if their pricing was consistent this type of operation would not be profitable.” You’ve got to be a little bit of a finance geek to be amused by this use of the word arbitrage, but I’ve spent enough time listening to Marketplace to be tickled by the statement.

The salad bar at your local grocery is another place where you can practice some consumer arbitrage, though there’s also advantage to be had in not buying things that spoil before you use them all. There’s also some things there that are pure and simple sucker items which you shouldn’t be buying in any quantity if you own a can opener. Continue reading