November 4, 2009

Doing the Right Thing

Sometimes, the news is good. Like this story about how Target and CVS are going to pay customers to use their own reusable shopping bags. If you turn down their plastic bag, Target will take 5 cents off your purchase. And CVS drugstore plans to give a $1 cash bonus for every 4 times a customer doesn't request a plastic bag.

That's good news that will add up to a lot less plastic. And maybe get people more into the habit of using cloth bags.

A spokesperson for the Natural Resources Defense Council says the two retailers could keep billions of plastic bags out of the environment, as well as encourage other retailers to take similar steps.

Smaller chains like Whole Foods have been giving their customers incentives to use cloth bags for a long time, but this marks the first time a big retailer is following suit.

It's a giant step in the right direction, with no downside I can see. Even if the motive is to cash in on people's desire to go green, in this case market forces are working. A marketing professor in the article says these days, retailers who want to connect with the consumer have to show they're sensitive to environmental concerns.

Have you heard any good news on the environmental, green, or nonconsumer front lately? Tell us about it in the Comments section.


Carla said...

Here in Texas the Brookshire's Grocery Stores and their discount store, Super 1, give a nickel off for every bag of your own you bring in, cloth or plastic. I am glad to know about CVS since that is the pharmacy we use locally. I try to take my cloth bags in there anyway but it will be nice to be rewarded for it.

At least here in the U.S. South I think there will have to be a penalty for taking your items home in plastic before people begin to bring their own cloth ones. (Plus there will have to be a lot of education.) The attitude is that we have a "right" to get free bags from the store and we're used to our plastic, doncha know? Not long ago I took my cloth bags into Super 1 and a lady who watched me check out told me in the parking lot that that made her angry — the STORE OUGHT to provide bags for me. I tried to explain that this was my choice but she didn't get it and left in a huff at the store.

See what I mean?

Kristen@TheFrugalGirl said...

I hardly ever shop at Target, but I think this is good news. It saves customers money, it saves the company money, and it reduces trash. Win, win, win.

annet said...

For years the two in-town (i.e. not at a mall) grocery stores have a bin of the boxes their stock comes in that customers can use to haul home their groceries. For the last couple of years a lot of stores have been selling reusable bags. One chain gives extra points above and beyond the ones you get on your purchase if you have their virtual bank card and use your own bag. Then a couple of months ago all of the stores began charging 5 cents for each plastic bag you use. I always keep my reusable bags with me or haul in my backpack or wheeled shopping tote.

Erin from Long Island said...

Here in the northeast, Pathmark gives you 2 cents for every cloth bag you use and Hmart gives you 10 cents for every cloth bag OF THEIRS that you use

Julie said...

I'm glad Target is finally getting with the program, even if they're only doing it as "greenwashing". One time, the kid automatically put my stuff in a bag even though I'd told him I had my own bag. I made him take the stuff out and then watched in horror as he threw the plastic bag away. It had been in use for about 3 seconds, but he said policy was to throw it away. (Someone told me later it's because it could have had food in it that would contaminate it for the next person, even though mine had not.) I told him if he was just going to throw it away, I'd take it. I made him give it to me, I took it home, and used it for cleaning out the cat box or something like that. It made me so furious! I first used my own bags living in Austria in 1990 (where they charge you for plastic bags if you forget to bring your own), and I've been trying to educate American cashiers and customers ever since. I call myself the crazy bag lady!
Anyway, good post, thanks for keeping us informed.