Fausto’s bags the plastic

Fausto’s Food Palace owner Jimmy Weekley has instituted two dynamic changes that he hopes help keep him in the green.

At the 600 Fleming St. location in Key West, shoppers no longer can opt for paper or plastic; rather, it’s paper or their own reusable grocery bag.

“It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for awhile,” Weekley said, “but I had to wait until I got rid of my plastic bag inventory. When I saw it was going to be depleted, I made sure my managers didn’t put in another order.

“The idea is to get people to quit using the plastic. It’s the environmentally right thing to do.”

So far, he said, the response has been largely positive, with a few complaints coming from bicyclists who liked to use the plastic bags to cover their seats after a rain or to hang their bags from their handlebars.

Weekley pointed out that he has stocked paper bags with handles that are sturdy enough to go along with you on a pedal.

“The paper bags are also recyclable, so people use them for that,” he said of folks using the paper bag as a recycling receptacle inside and then just pitching the whole affair into the green bin at curbside.

Christi Allen, organizer of EcoWeek 2010, was thrilled to hear about Weekley’s plans.

EcoWeek, a weeklong event scheduled Nov. 1 through 7 throughout the Keys, has a daunting environmental project: voluntarily eliminating the use of plastic bags.

Allen said partner Green Living & Energy Education is recruiting volunteers to visit businesses and promote the campaign. Plastic bag-free businesses will be listed on the Web site.

The switch from plastic to paper is coming soon to the Fausto’s at 1105 White St., Weekley said, and it’s also getting a different kind of makeover.

Weekley hopes switching the lights to energy-efficient light-emitting diodes will cut down on monthly utilities.

“We expect at White Street to get a reduction in our electric bill of over $1,000 a month,” he said.For more information on both Fausto’s locations, visit