Large U.S. food retailers take part in reusable bag pilot
Kroger, CVS, Target and Dollar General will bring new reusable bag pilot to stores nationwide.
Emily Crowe for Progressive Grocer
Several food retailers are taking part in two reusable-bag pilots as part of an initiative from the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag, managed by Closed Loop Partners. CVS Health, Target, The Kroger Co. and Dollar General are among the companies participating in the consortium’s largest reusable-bag pilots to date, taking place in three states.
The Bring Your Own Bag pilot will test the impact of collective action by retailers in driving broader cultural shifts, resulting in reusable bags becoming the norm wherever people shop. Seven national brands will participate: CVS Health, Target, Dick's Sporting Goods, Dollar General, The Kroger Co., TJX and Ulta Beauty.
Signage, marketing and customer prompts about reusable bags from the consortium’s playbook will be used in the stores, located across Denver; Tucson, Ariz.; and their surrounding areas.
The second project, dubbed the Returnable Bag Pilot, will test a new reusable-bag solution at specific CVS Health and Target stores in New Jersey. The companies will offer a reusable-bag service model across multiple stores, offering customers the opportunity to buy a bag at checkout, which they can return to any participating store to get their $1 deposit back.
The returnable bag will be washed and redistributed for reuse by other customers. The service model was built by the consortium based on insights gathered over the past two years.
“We need to consider a range of needs, contexts and policy landscapes to create a less wasteful future for the retail bag,” said Kate Daly, managing director and head of the Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners. “These two pilots are complementary by design, understanding that a diversity of solutions is needed to effect systems change and mitigate unintended consequences.”
Continued Daly: “We are bringing retailers together to advance reuse solutions collectively that support customers and reduce single-use plastic bag waste. We look forward to piloting at this large scale, engaging multiple retailers both in and beyond the consortium to generate greater industry engagement and ecosystem impact.”
The Returnable Bag Pilot will run from April to July, and the Bring Your Own Bag Pilot will run from May to July. The consortium believes that testing in different markets can help determine the viability of solutions across various markets and inform potential for scale.
Cincinnati-based Kroger has almost 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names. The company is No. 4 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. Minneapolis-based Target Corp. with nearly 2,000 locations, is No. 6 on PG’s list, while Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS Health, with almost 10,000 locations nationwide, is No. 7, and Chesapeake, Va.-based Dollar Tree, operating 16,293 stores under the Dollar Tree, Family Dollar and Dollar Tree Canada banners across 48 states and five Canadian provinces, is No. 29.