Target Will Pay Shoppers to Bring Their Own Bags

Large retailers join smaller niche stores to offer rebates for reusing
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2009 2:31 PM CDT
Shoppers enter and exit the Target store in Salem, N.H.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Target and CVS will reward customers for using reusable shopping bags, and the efforts could take a billion plastic bags out of circulation. Though some retailers—notably Wal-Mart—have been slow to hop on the eco bandwagon, initiatives at smaller chains such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe's have met with success. “Retailers who want to connect with this generation have to go green,” an expert tells USA Today.

“It's become part of the competitive landscape to demonstrate that it's part of your culture,” the expert says. Target will credit customers 5¢ cents for each bag they bring in and use. A pilot program reduced usage by 58%, a dramatic number considering Target’s 1.5 billion annual transactions. At CVS, customers will get a $1 rebate every four times they use a nondisposable bag. “We reward customers for doing good things,” an exec says.