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Publix Saves 2 Billion Grocery Bags

In-store initiatives have reduced the use of paper and plastic grocery bags at checkout by more than one million bags per day, grocery chain Publix announced this week.

Since 2007, the company has been training service clerks and cashiers to increase the number of items per bag. It also implemented bag reduction goals for each store, held communication campaigns to encourage the use of reusable bags and donated reusable bags to non-profits and partner organizations throughout the Southeast. As a result the total number of bags saved since 2007 has surpassed the 2 billion milestone, according to estimates.

Publix notes that it has offered in-store recycling of paper and plastic bags since the mid-1970s and introduced its first .99 cent reusable bags in mid-2007. Since the introduction, more than 21 million reusable bags have been sold at Publix locations.

In 2011, the company’s overall recycling rate was 49 percent. That year, 221,900 tons of cardboard, 8,800 tons of plastic and 3,200 tons of mixed paper were recycled by the grocery chain, which helped save approximately 3.7 million trees, 1.5 billion gallons of water, and 740,000 cubic yards of landfill space.

In addition, Publix Pharmacy was the first regional supermarket chain to introduce prescription vials made from both new and post consumer recycled PET plastic. Last year, Publix recycled more than 2.3 million vials returned to its pharmacies by customers.

Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market recently held its second annual Design-A-Bag contest, which resulted in the commercial sale of a reusable bag designed by a customer.

Bart King is a PR consultant and principal at Cleantech Communications.

Bart King is the principal of New Growth Communications, a network of affiliated content producers and strategists serving clients in the emerging green economy. He is also Associate Editor of Sponsored Content for Sustainable Brands. Follow him @bart_king [Read more about Bart King]

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