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Incentives for Reusable Grocery Bags

By: Ali Pourvasei-- 2013-09-03 1:00 am --

Reusable grocery bags are becoming a popular among those who are concerned about our Earth, but what about those who are more concerned about their wallets? Sadly, there are many people who may balk at buying a reusable bag when they have no monetary incentive. Many stores have realized this and have created incentive plans to help encourage bargain hunters to help cut down on waste.

Free Bag Giveaways

The first step to switching customers over to reusable grocery bags is to get customers to try them out. One of the best ways to do this is to offer free reusable bags like the recent effort to free Los Angeles of plastic bag waste. A group of grocery stores agreed to give away free grocery bags for LA’s annual “Day Without a Bag.” This effort has led to a 95% reduction in plastic bag distribution in L.A.

Discounts on Groceries

Once customers have some reusable grocery bags, the next step is to give them incentive to remember to use them. There are many different ways to offer discounts. Her are four popular ways some stores approach it:

  • In 2009, Target started offering a discount of five cents for every reusable bag a customer used. It doesn’t have to be a Target bag, but it does have to be a cloth bag.
  • CVS Pharmacy offers a discount for reusable grocery bags that is based on the number of uses rather than the number of bags. A small green card with a barcode is scanned every time the customer goes through the line, and every fourth trip the customer earns on dollar in CVS store credit.
  • In addition to offering its own reusable bags, Kroger also offers a discount of four cents per grocery bag. While it’s not a large amount, large families with lots of groceries will find that it adds up fast.
  • KTA Super Stores also offers a discount, but theirs is for every bag that the customer brings in, whether plastic or reusable. They offer various rates for customers based on the size and type of bag they choose to bring to the store.

Charging For Plastic

In the effort to cut down on plastic waste, some cities such as Washington, D.C., Austin, TX and San Diego, CA are requiring retailers to charge customers for plastic bags. Other places may follow their lead to get the consumer on board with the green effort.

A Little Push Goes a Long Way

No matter what kind of incentive is used, the main goal is simply to reward customers for bringing in a reusable bag. The change to reusable bags is one widely embraced, but as history shows, human beings can resist change, even when it is a good one. Creating store or city wide incentives can be the extra push that helps consumers buy reusable bags and then continue to use them. When it comes to helping our environment and preserving our world, that little push can make a huge difference.