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To All Major Retailers: Start Charging for Plastic Bags, NOW!

| Tuesday March 4th, 2008 | 7 Comments

bagthebag.gifOver the past year, many leading companies have taken proactive steps to minimize their use of resources that clutter up our landfill. European retailers IKEA and Marks & Spencer have started charging customers up to 10 cents per plastic bag.
Not only are these companies realizing the environmental benefits of charging for plastic bags, but also seeing the financial benefits, along with the positive branding, and philanthropic benefits (Marks & Spencer donates profits to improve parks and play areas across the country) as well.
Am I missing something here, or is this a huge WIN/WIN for everyone involved? Charging for plastic bags supports people, planet, AND profits. Click below to read my solutions!


wholefoodsbag.jpgWhy aren’t other major retailers and grocers following suit? One can only guess. My opinion is that charging consumers money for plastic bags is smart business because it: a) saves valuable environmental resources, b) keeps clutter (that takes thousands of years to break down) out of our landfills, garbage, sewers, and lakes, c) saves the retailers money, d) gives retailers an opportunity to educate consumers about recycling and smart resource use, e) allows retailers to actually make more money by selling reusable bags, f) gives retailers an opportunity to give back to the local communities by donating some of the profits, g) builds a loyal and trusting consumer base which leads to increased positive brand value and mindshare.
I do know that US grocer Whole Foods has stopped using plastic bags all together in two of their Texas stores with plans to stop using plastic bags in all their stores countrywide by early 2009.
Does anyone have an opinion on why other US retailers and grocery chains are not following in IKEA and Marks & Spencer’s footsteps to jump in front of this opportunity?


▼▼▼      7 Comments     ▼▼▼

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  • Dave Shires

    Nice post. I think the truth is most retailers thing consumers will revolt if they take away the plastic bags. Indeed, many people would throw a fit if they were asked to pay 10 cents for a bag. Personally, I have no sympathy for people like this, but that’s the reality that retailers live in – or THINK they live in.

  • Jake

    “.10 cents” ? A tenth of a cent? I think you mean 10 cents…

  • Mike Why

    Millions of Europeans (Germans and Swedes in particular) pay for each bag they use. About 25 cents for a thicker, stronger, larger plastic bag that can be-and IS–used for many, many trips. Why the hell can’t we Americans do the same?

  • Tara

    Up in Washington, PCC stores stopped using plastic bags altogether (they still have some available for produce and bulk items). They give discounts for bringing your own and only charge 99 cents for a great reusable bag. They also have switched (or are in the process of switching) all of their deli containers/take out food containers to compostable materials.

  • Tara

    Up in Washington, PCC stores stopped using plastic bags altogether (they still have some available for produce and bulk items). They give discounts for bringing your own and only charge 99 cents for a great reusable bag. They also have switched (or are in the process of switching) all of their deli containers/take out food containers to compostable materials.

  • Anonymous

    What about the developing nations like India and China. These are the ones who will increase the volumes being used. I think a legislation for the developing nations should also be in the offing.

  • Cristina

    I feel the solution to none-use of plastic shopping bags is really quite simple.
    I live in Qld Australia. This country tends to follow the US in what it does.
    The large supermarket chains like Big W, & Coles, & IGA(independent Groceries Australia) all have the alternative environmentally friendly bag.
    These can be bought for a nominal sum of around 90cents or so. Especially for people like myself who often forget to bring along their bags!
    The thing is shop assistants are very quick to bring out the plastic shopping bags for the groceries.
    Now if the supermarket chains didn’t have ANY pastic shopping bags at all, customers would (Like me) train themselves to remember their bags or simply pay up for a fabric bag.
    Alternatively some of the smaller supermarkets have card-board boxes near the exit which might also be used quite effectively.
    (It’s amazing what card-board boxes can be used for- planting seedlings, containing bills, accounts,etc. Just give one to a 3 year old & see what the imagination comes up with!!!!)
    So my solution: NO PLASTIC SHOPPING BAGS AT ALL IN THE SUPERMARKETS!
    Cristina, Toowoomba, Australia.