Why Costco Decided To Test Out Bags For Its Famous Rotisserie Chicken

Costco rotisserie chicken bag
Costco rotisserie chicken bag - Smith Collection/gado/Getty Images

Among Costco's many other appealing attributes lies the chain's wildly popular rotisserie chicken. The reason Costco's rotisserie chicken tastes so good is no closely held secret, and the chain has been equally forthcoming about a recent switch that has shoppers talking. As explained in the online version of Costco Connection magazine, the warehouse retail store is placing its rotisserie chicken in plastic bags in select locations instead of the hard plastic packaging the item is typically sold in. According to Costco, the switch will reduce the store's plastic usage by an anticipated 17 million pounds and potentially reduce carbon emissions by 4,000 metric tons since the new packaging occupies less space in transportation trucks.

It's unclear which locations currently use the new bags, although Packaging Dive reported that they debuted in an Issaquah, Washington, location. However, Consumer Reports stated that the plan is for the new packaging to eventually make its way to locations nationwide. It's always a good thing when companies make efforts to reduce their plastic use, but some Costco shoppers have been airing more practical concerns on social media.

Read more: All The Benefits Of A Costco Membership

Costco Fans Not Happy About Potential Bag Leaks

Costco storefront daytime
Costco storefront daytime - Slobo/Getty Images

Costco members are a pretty passionate bunch. For instance, Costco's decision to discontinue its sausage sandwich was met with a sizable outcry from shoppers; similarly, a Reddit thread discussing the new bags featured quite a few concerned shoppers. These concerns were heightened by a picture in the post, which featured the new bags resting in what can only be described as a pool of rotisserie chicken goo. One commenter, who claimed to have direct experience with the chicken bags, stated, "The bag was super greasy when I got one today." At the same time, another person said they needed to close the bag a second time after purchase and was left with "fat drippings all over the floor to the garbage can" after removing the chicken from the bag at home.

Over on TikTok, Costco fans were a little less enthusiastic when discussing the updated packaging. One commenter stated that the bags were less likely to leak when compared to the plastic containers, and another person backed up this claim, saying, "Honestly those hard containers would always pop open in the car spilling juices everywhere too." People on both platforms highlighted that the bags are already used in Canada and appear to be working fine. While it's good to know that leaks may not be as big of an issue as previously thought, a question remains about the environmental friendliness of Costco's new bags.

Can You Recycle Rotisserie Chicken Bags?

Costco plastic chicken container
Costco plastic chicken container - Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Along with leaks, a Reddit commenter also raised concerns about the recyclability of the new packaging. While the exact composition of Costco's bags is not clear, plastic bags are notoriously difficult to recycle. Many types of plastic bags are not included in curbside recycling programs, and even if Costco bags are included, it's not possible to recycle materials covered in food debris.

As for the clamshell packaging Costco has used for its rotisserie chicken thus far, these materials are recyclable when made from polyethylene terephthalate (again, it must be noted that it's not clear whether the clamshell packaging contains this form of plastic). However, not all recycling programs accept clamshell packages due to variations in manufacturing and possible contamination by any stickers placed on the packaging. Accordingly, it appears that neither form of packaging is amenable to easy recycling.

While the new bags may not be recyclable, they will have a more positive environmental impact if Costco's initial estimations are correct. Aggressed Costco members should keep an open mind when it comes to switching up the packaging. As stated by a level-headed Redditor, "You want a $5 chicken? That's what you get." Considering that Costco rotisserie chicken yields a surprising amount of meat, customers will probably overlook their initial bag gripes.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal.