Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Eco-Green, Retail

Charges on single-use plastic bags have reduced usage by 85% amongst U.K. high street retailers.

Score: one for the environment. British retailers that have started imposing fees on the single use of plastic bags as an incentive to get customers to reuse their bags is working, with retailers saying usage is down 85%, reported The Guardian. Customers are not just responding to the tacked on fee, but also high profile campaigns, fashion statement alternatives and incentive programs, such as accruing green loyalty points. At Marks & Spencer, which began adding a 5 pence charge on food bags last year in May, the number of single-use bags leaving the store has declined by 80%, from 460m bags a year to 80m. At the National Trust, which also levied a 5 pence charge in May last year, the usage of plastic bags is down 85%, or 1m bags annually.

Supermarket giant, Tesco, which offers a green point to its clubcard customers for reusing their bags, said its bag use is down by 50% since launching the program in August 2006. In total, it estimates it has saved 3bn bags in the process, with 1.8bn bags saved in the last year. Rival Sainsbury's, which also offers extra loyalty points to customers, wouldn't disclose how many bags it has saved, but said only that the plan was successful.

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