Daniel Eran Dilger
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Apple retail keeps it green during fire sale

 Retail Images Store Photos Photo Chestnutstreet

Prince McLean, AppleInsider
In its latest effort to positively impact the environment, Apple’s retail stores have initiated a new “no plastic bags” policy to cut back on the amount of unnecessary packaging it dumps in the hands of shoppers.

Apple retail keeps it green during fire sale
.Apple store visitors who make more than handful of purchases in the store are offered assistance to their car or the option of leaving their items at the store while they continue shopping, in the case of retail outlets located in a mall.

The cat is back in the bag

The move reflects the company’s efforts to push the envelope in going green, a central feature of both its advertising and product design. The company was among the first to reduce the size of its software packaging and has developed some of the slimmest boxes of any consumer electronics maker. It has also shunned plastic optical media in favor of electronic distribution from iTunes sales to web-based video distribution in iLife and MobileMe.

Getting rid of plastic bags is the next step. The city and county of San Francisco banned plastic shopping bags in grocery stores a year ago, and a variety of US cities have expressed interest in following suit including Austin, Texas; Boston, Massachusetts; Portland, Oregon; and Phoenix, Arizona.

San Francisco now has 5 million fewer of the difficult to recycle plastic bags per month hitting its landfills. Internationally, Paris and London have since enacted similar bans. In Ireland and Germany, shoppers pay a recycling fee for plastic bags, prompting many shoppers to bring their own baskets or carts.

Green despite an inventory fire sale

Apple started its bag-free program this week near the release of a wide range of new Mac models. Inventory checks indicate that the company’s retail stores still have a significant supply of previous models; the company usually aims to clear remaining inventory out of the channel before new product launches, but the retail slump has made that difficult to do.

As a result, many Apple retail stores are offering special “end of life” deals on remaining stock until its inventory is depleted. The company isn’t advertising the deals publicly, but users interested in new Macs are given the option of buying the new improved Macs that were just released, or purchasing from the remaining inventory of older models at, as one Apple store employee said, “super cheapy prices.”

A variety of mail order companies are also offering special discounts on both new models and their existing inventory of previous Macs. In particular, some resellers are offering discounts of $300 to $500 off the original sticker price of previous generation iMacs, who performance was recently shown to be on par with just-released models when strictly talking CPU performance. A comparison of deals is presented in our Mac Price Guide.

  • http://bkpfd.org qka

    The mantra of the green movement is “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”.

    While it is a good thing that Apple is attacking the problem at the start with “Reduce”, I was awfully fond of the “Reuse”, carrying other stuff in an Apple Store bag around town. When it was no longer usable, I would recycle.

    I guess Apple figures that the marketing boost from having people reuse their bags in other settings is no longer needed.

  • droughtquake

    As a ‘Team Member’ at Target, I have some ‘Guests’ who bring in their own bags (some reusable bags are easier to fill than others), some who refuse any bags at all (a very, very small number), and a few who insist on wasting bags (demanding double-bagging, insisting on excessive bags for no realistic reason, or request bags for items that do not need them).

    I understand when frail people wish to have heavy items split among more bags. But if you drive so recklessly that you think you need a plastic bag to contain liquid detergent that you think is going to spill out of a tightly sealed jug, you have bigger problems to worry about! (Besides, a plastic grocery bag won’t contain a soap spill.)

    The trend is up on BYOB, but a stubborn few flagrantly ignore reality.

  • gus2000

    …except that walking around town with an Apple bag screams “please mug me”.

  • Dorotea

    Way to much “One Size Fits All” policy. Its unrealistic to offer no bags, especially if multiple small items are bought. Apple needs a way to bundle products together in a way that makes them easy to carry and tells store personnel at the mall that the product has been purchased. Eliminating a plastic bag means that there needs to be an alternative method.

    I can’t quite see Apple sending an employee to help me carry small items to my car.

    What a put-off.

    P.S. From what I know , most Apple computer hardware packaging comes with built in handles on the boxes. THis is more than adequate. Its the smaller items that are the problem.

  • nat

    I can’t quite see Apple sending an employee to help me carry small items to my car.

    Right, so you’d leave your purchased stuff at the counter, then when ready to leave, take as many of the little items as you could on your own and ask for assistance with the rest or…bring your own bag, which is what Apple (among other retailers) is encouraging you to do. Personally, I’ve never walked around any electronics store with a plastic bag while shopping and most don’t have shopping carts.

  • nat

    Meant to add that that’s what the crook of my arm is for. ;)

  • Dorotea

    @Nat,
    Encouraging me to bring in a bag is fine. Charging me for the bag is also fine (other retailers do, I guess). Denying me the ability to bundle my items for carrying is nonsense. If Apple doesn’t like plastic bags, they should come up with a more economical or “green” solution than to expect me to carry my own bag. (Other stores don’t really want you to traipse through their stores with empty bags — too close to shop lifting)

    Btw, plastic bags make great carriers for lunches. They are great for trash (waste mgmt co requires plastic bags be used). They are also great for bundling items for charity donations.

    The local grocery store also recycles plastic bags.

  • nextcube

    Aldi Foods – the grocers – have been doing the “pay fer yer bags” thing for a long time. The bags they sell are actually heavy-duty, high-quality, super-reusable bags (Aldi bags DON’T scream ‘mug me’! :), and you have the option of grabbing cardboard boxes that the store would otherwise recycle to load your purchases into. A win all around, and my personal favorite way to address the issue.

  • nat

    @Dorotea,

    I see your point, though you’d have to be carrying quite a few little items to justify a bag, right? I have nothing against plastic bags and if Apple’s encouraging its customers to bring in their own bags, I doubt they’d care what material it was (as long as it’s not copper-lined, or whatever material would stop those security tag readers).

  • http://www.aboutjack.com aboutjack

    I went to our local Apple store Saturday and asked for the new mini USB keyboard, picked up an iPod cable, a software product, a Mighty Mouse, and a set of earbuds… purchased, asked for a bag, was refused (with an explanation). Since I was in a mall, and had no intention of (a) leaving the mall then, (b) continuing to shop while idiotically juggling an armload of stuff, or (c) leaving my stuff there at the wrong end of the mall (requiring a return trip prior to leaving), I explained myself and cancelled the transaction. I offered to pay for a bag, but could not do so. Stupidity… true stupidity, folks.