CVS Health, Target, other Fortune 500 retailers and local shops catalyze reuse solutions to reduce single-use bags in 150+ stores across US cities


The two complementary pilots will take place in over 150 stores. (Credit: Lucrezia Carnelos on Unsplash)

The Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag, managed by Closed Loop Partners, today announced its largest piloting initiative to date with two reusable bag pilots in three states, with multiple retailers including Consortium Founding Partners CVS Health and Target, as well as Sector Lead Partners DICK’S Sporting Goods, Dollar General, The Kroger Co., TJX and Ulta Beauty. Building on three years of insights, research and in-market tests, the Consortium is bringing its holistic approach to reduce single-use plastic bag waste to ambitious in-market interventions. The two complementary pilots will take place in over 150 stores, collectively engaging national retailers and local shops to test a range of solutions that aim to support customers in adopting reuse.

Bring Your Own Bag Pilot
The Consortium’s first pilot, the Bring Your Own Bag Pilot, will focus on testing the impact of collective action by retailers in driving broader cultural shifts, where bringing reusable bags becomes the norm wherever customers shop. Participating retailers include seven national brands––CVS Health, Target, DICK’S Sporting Goods, Dollar General, The Kroger Co., TJX and Ulta Beauty. The Consortium is also engaging retailers beyond the Consortium, from mom-and-pop shops to large brands, to reach even more local residents. All participating retailers will test the same solutions from the Consortium’s recently published Playbook––including signage, marketing and customer prompts about reusable bags––in stores across Denver, Colorado; Tucson, Arizona and the surrounding areas.

Returnable Bag Pilot
As a complement to the Bring Your Own Bag Pilot, the Consortium’s second pilot, the Returnable Bag Pilot, will test a new reusable bag solution to serve customers when they forget to bring their own reusable bags to stores. CVS Health and Target, two Founding Partners of the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag, will collaboratively pilot a new ‘returnable bag’ service model across multiple stores, offering customers the opportunity to buy a bag at checkout, to be returned to any participating store to get their $1 deposit back. The bag will then be washed, redistributed and reused by other customers. This service model was built by the Consortium based on insights gathered over the last two years. The Returnable Bag Pilot will take place in New Jersey, where recent legislation banning single-use bags in certain stores underscores a need for reuse solutions that are environmentally sustainable and convenient for customers. Two winners of the Consortium’s Beyond the Bag Innovation Challenge, Returnity and 99Bridges, will provide operational services for the returnable bag system.

The Returnable Bag Pilot will run from April to July 2023, while the Bring Your Own Bag Pilot will be active from May to July 2023. Together, the two pilots paint a potential future where complementary reuse approaches work in parallel to reduce single-use plastic bag waste, focusing on increasing the use of existing reusable bags in the market, as well as creating solutions for when customers forget their own reusable bag. By testing in different markets, these pilots can also inform the viability of solutions across various markets, and inform potential for scale.

Source: Company Press Release