The Progressive Bag Alliance announced today that it supports Wal-Mart's decision to offer reusable bags in some stores. The Chicago Tribune reported today that Wal-Mart will sell cloth bags with the slogan "Paper or Plastic? Neither." The bags will cost $1 each. PBA points out that reusable bags aren't for everyone, although it supports offering that option to consumers. But it suggested a few other steps that retailers can make "to provide sustainable bag options."
- At-Store Recycling: Plastic grocery bags are 100% recyclable and retailers need to provide bins at their stores where customers recycle plastic bags. This provides a resource for the customer and a revenue stream for the retailer, who can sell the valuable recycled plastic.
- Bagger Training: Retailers must ensure that employees at the checkout have the proper training to ensure that each bag is used efficiently to reduce waste. PBA members have used bagger training programs to successfully reduce waste for large supermarket chains.
- Recycling Measurement: Retailers that offer at-store recycling should also adopt a simple accurate system of measurement. This provides concrete metrics by which they can track the success of their program and identify best practices that can be shared with others to encourage similar action.