Mar 28 - Supermarkets Struggle to Break Consumer's Plastic Bag Reliance

In the battle to break the consumer habit of using plastic bags, some supermarkets have begun offering incentives to those who bring in their own reusable bags, but some chains are now ending these promotions in certain regions. Large grocery retailers such as Kroger and Safeway have offered such discounts as reduced gas prices, and per-bag rebates as high as ten cents for each bag, but company officials state that these incentives are doing little to boost reusable bag use rates.

As quoted in an article from the Associated Press, "Getting consumers to change their habits is difficult under any economic conditions," said Joel Makower, a consultant and executive editor of Greener World Media Inc. "Stubbornness is recession-proof."

Instead, in an effort to encourage consumer use of reusable bags, Kroger has decorated its parking lot with signs offering gentle reminders such as "Are your reusable bags still in the car?" and "Less Plastic: Fantastic."

Many retailers are trying to ease consumers over to reusable bags before plastic bag bans hit their area, which have already been implemented in a multitude of Californian cities.

On the whole, surveys have shown that most consumers want to use reusable bags, but free plastic/paper bags are so ingrained in our daily routines, that old habits are difficult to break. Plastic bag bans are simply a more steadfast reminder to grab your reusable bags before walking out the house, and provide an initiation needed to transition consumers to adopting more environmentally friendly shopping routines.