Target, CVS launch reusable bag incentive programs

Target and CVS are both rolling out programs designed to get shoppers to trim their reliance on plastic grocery bags. Anti-bag crusades are popular with eco-friendly companies; Whole Foods, for instance, scrapped disposable plastic bags back in 2008.

According to this article in USA Today, the nation's fifth-largest retailer along with the country's largest prescription provider are each launching plastic bag-reduction incentives in the coming weeks. Both brands have test-marketed the new campaigns and are introducing them in all of their stores (that's 1,700 Target locations and 7,000 CVS sites, if you're counting).

The Target plan offers customers five cents off their bill for every reusable bag they use in lieu of a plastic bag. A Target spokesperson says any reusable bag is acceptable, but you're not allowed to bring in plastic bags from your last trip to the store. (Even if you are reusing them, they're not reusable bags.) The spokesperson adds that although the program officially launches November 1, which is when signs announcing the incentive will appear in stores, customers "could and should be able to" bring in their own reusable bags and request the discount now. The five-cent discount is available to all shoppers.

Unlike Target's plan, the CVS program is only available to shoppers who are -- or become -- members of the pharmacy's loyalty program, ExtraCare, and it requires an upfront investment in the form of a 99-cent "GreenBagTag."

Loyalty program members can have the tag swiped every time they come to a CVS and forgo a plastic bag -- either by bringing a reusable bag with them or carrying their purchases out sans bag. After every four "green" swipes, the customer will get a coupon printed on the bottom of their receipt for a dollar off a future shopping trip.

A spokesperson for one of CVS's public-relations agencies says that a portion of the proceeds from the GreenBagTag sales will be donated to environmental causes, although the details on the amount of the donation per tag and the recipients haven't been finalized.

Readers, will you use one of these new programs? Both? Which format do you think does a better job of rewarding you for being eco-friendly?
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