BOSTON (Dec. 15, 12:30 p.m. ET) — In the last three years, the use of single use paper and plastic shopping bags distributed in Massachusetts has dropped 33 percent in stores participating in a joint initiative to reduce bag use with the Massachusetts Food Association, the state's Department of Environmental Protection announced.
In 2007, a group of grocers agreed to train staff on how to reduce wasteful distribution of bags, offer reusable bags for sale, provide cash incentives for reusable bags and post instructional signs reminding patrons not to forget their reusable bags.
The voluntary initiative included 12 supermarket chains comprised of 384 stores, more than 66 percent of all grocery stores in the state. The initiative originally had a goal of a 33 percent reduction by 2013.
“Having met the initial goal two years early does not mean an end to the effort,” said Kenneth Kimmel, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, in a statement. “Consumers are obviously adopting new behaviors and we hope to see that continued reduction in the future.”