Reusable Shopping Bag Incentives

Reusable shopping bags and paper bags are becoming increasingly popular for customers and stores around the country, replacing plastic bags. And with good reason - according to the Environmental Protection Agency plastic bags are recycled at less than 33% the rate of paper bags and make up the largest source of litter in our oceans.  In addition, plastic is made from petroleum, which is the largest source of carbon emissions.

How does this impact you, the shopper? Many retailers recognize that reducing the use of plastic shopping bags will reduce litter as well as packaging costs so they are offering discounts if you bring your own shopping bags.  For example:

  • Giant gives four cents and Kroger five cents each time you use your own bag. 
  • Kroger has an added incentive with an annual "design a reusable shopping bag" contest where customers who enter get a free bag and can win $1,000. 
  • Wal-Mart not only recycles plastic bags but also sells a reusable bag for 50 cents. 
  • CVS offers a $1 store credit every 4 times you bring your own bag or decline one at check-out but you have to purchase a $.99 green tag to swipe each time. 
  • Target offers a five-cent discount when you use your own bag.

To ensure this trend is here to stay, cities around the country are requiring retailers to charge for plastic bags including: Washington, DC, Austin, TX, and San Diego, CA. Other cities and some states are debating the pros and cons.