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Bag a Bonus

Bring your own shopping bags.

Get paid for going green: CVS and Target now reward customers who bring their own shopping bags.

Both programs began Nov. 1 and will run indefinitely. At any Target store, customers will receive an immediate 5-cent discount for each reusable bag they use in place of a store-issued plastic bag. The bag you bring “can’t be a store-issued plastic or paper bag,” says company spokeswoman Amy Reilly. “It has to be a classic reusable bag” like those sold, usually for about $1, at Target and many other stores.

At CVS drugstores, customers can buy a Green Bag Tag for 99 cents and scan it every time they check out without taking a disposable bag from the store. In return they receive a $1 coupon on their receipt every fourth time they check out with the tag.

Other retailers also encourage customers to avoid store-issued plastic bags. Ikea has no plastic bags at all but sells reusable bags for 59 cents. And Whole Foods Markets offer a 5- or 10-cent discount for every reusable bag a customer brings.

Governments are also getting into the act. Florida’s Department of Environmental Regulation is proposing that the nation’s first statewide ban on disposable paper and plastic bags take effect in 2015. Considering a 5-cent charge for each bag used at retail establishments, Florida has other conservation measures in effect or under consideration.

Sid Kirchheimer writes about consumer and health issues.

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