This is not too surprising for anyone who shops there, since the signs (literally) have been prominently displayed in the check out areas for months. As plastic bags go, theirs was by far one of the best, so much so that it has been easy to reuse them. They fold nicely and last awhile so I would carry a few with me. I've also rescued a few people who lost their groceries on the sidewalk when the cheaper grade plastic bags they had split open, often just from the short distance from their cars to their homes.
So I have to wonder, is the issue with plastic bags just about biodegradable issues, or is it overconsumption? We as a people probably use far too many plastic bags, because they are too small, too weak to carry many heavy items, too icky to fold up carefully. Plastic bags have their place - in inclement weather your grocery bag won't disintegrate while you wait for at train or bus. Your frozen foods won't break a hole though your grocery bag, etc. However, so many people use plastic bags with abandonment. I've seen people at the Jewel Self Check out grab many extra bags, for what purpose, who knows, since they've already bagged their groceries. I've also seen people at the Self Check out who don't even bother with a plastic bag - at least there's some balance.
If nothing else, the one good thing about Whole Foods policy announcement is that it helps open more dialog up about the overuse of plastic bags, and personal responsibility in their use and disposal, which is really the major issue here. The irony here is that I have never seen a Whole Foods plastic bag adorning the urban landscape, hanging from trees or blowing down streets. Maybe because their bags were actually re-usable, versus the ones that had very little value in the first place. In any event, banning the plastic bag has created a space for many people to think, to discuss and to look at their own habits of plastic consumption.
On the shopping side of life, the Whole Foods plasticized bag replacement, available for 99 cents, is a bright and fun shopper!