Two major U.S. retailers have enacted incentives for shoppers that the companies expect will significantly reduce the amount of plastic shopping bags being distributed at checkout counters.
The initiatives announced separately by discount retailer Target Corp. and drug store chain CVS Caremark Corp. are in place just ahead of the busy holiday shopping season.
CVS, which has 7,000 pharmacies in the United States, said it will give a customer $1 in credits toward merchandise every four times he or she uses a reusable bag and refuses a plastic bag at checkout.
To participate, customers must be members of CVS' ExtraCare purchase-reward program and buy a single, reusable Green Bag tag for 99 cents that must be presented at the time of purchase. There is a limit of one Green Bag tag scan per household per day.
Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS, which announced the program Oct. 12, said most of its stores will have Green Bag tags by the end of October, and the company expects the initiative to be fully in place by the end of November.
The 99-cent fee for the tags will be donated to a still-to-be-determined ecological cause.
Minneapolis-based Target the fifth-largest U.S. retailer with 1,700 stores will give its customers 5 cents for every reusable bag they use, starting Nov. 1.
In announcing the program Oct. 19, Target said a pilot program earlier this year at 100 stores resulted in a 58 percent reduction in the number of plastic bags given at checkout lines.
There are 11 plastic bag bans in the U.S., six of which have been enacted this year. In Canada, Toronto has a 5-cent fee on plastic carryout bags.
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