Five years ago, Roche Bros. launched the Go Green initiative, giving a 5-cent rebate for use of reusable grocery bags, which shoppers could donate to Boston Children's Hospital. In the year that ended March 30, the program raised more than $50,000 for the hospital. In total, more than $180,000 has been donated.
Publix says it has saved 1 billion paper and plastic bags since introducing a campaign encouraging use of reusable bags. The grocery chain also is donating reusable bags to nonprofit and partner organizations, and says that in 2009 its recycling rate was 45%.
As voters in Seattle prepare to decide on a measure that would impose a 20-cent fee on disposable bags at grocery and drugstores, many stores are signing on to a voluntary program to promote reusable bags. Stores including supermarkets and chains such as Target have started selling the reusable bags, donating them to low-income communities and posting signs reminding customers to use them. Meanwhile, the American Chemistry Council has been the biggest contributor to a campaign opposing the city's bag fee.
Giant Food and General Mills are giving away reusable bags in honor of Earth Day. Giant customers who buy $15 of select General Mills products between April 17 and 23 will receive coupons for five free bags.