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Philly farmer's market nixes plastic bags

The Jefferson market will distribute 800 reusable bags on its first day this year.

Plastic bags will be verboten this year at the Jefferson Farmer's Market, which begins its 2013 season Thursday at 11 a.m.

In what is said to be the first program of its kind in the city, vendors have started a plastic bag reduction program that, out the outset, involves giving away 800 reusable bags donated by CareOne at Moorestown, a Senior Care Company.

Customers will be encouraged to bring them back and fill them again.

Typically, one farmer goes through about 75 plastic bags each week, packing them with local fruits and vegetables, grass-fed beef, eggs, jams and baked goods, officials said.

Many cities have adopted legislation to limit the use --  and littering — of plastic bags. Usually, they institute a bag fee, or ban the bags altogether.

Philadelphia council proposed a fee a few years ago, but the measure failed.

The plastic bag industry promotes recycling as a way to reduce litter and conserve the resources that go into making plastic bags.

The Jefferson market is held every Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the corner of 10th and Chestnut streets.

It's a partnership between Jefferson University Hospitals and Philadelphia's Farm to City program, which seeks to unite communities, families, and farmers through healthful and flavorful locally-grown food.