ladies polos Goodwill to stop offering new bags at checkout
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Goodwill and Bag it Duluth, the nonprofit group pushing to eliminate single use plastic bags, said the move will keep about 800,000 plastic bags out of the waste stream annually, saving Goodwill about $25,000.
It’s hoped that customers will bring reusable tote bags for their purchases but, if customers ask, Goodwill will have used boxes and used bags at checkout.
Goodwill said it will plow the savings back into offering additional employment opportunities for its clients but noted the bag effort fits well with the company’s primary business repurposing, reusing and recycling clothing, housewares and other previously unwanted goods.
“Eliminating barriers to work and independence is our mission. But a big part of what we do is keeping items out of landfills millions of pounds per year,” said Scott Vezina, marketing specialist for Duluth based Goodwill Industries.
Vezina said the company ordered its last new bags in October and won’t reorder when they are gone. The new policy is now in effect at all 15 of the company’s stores in Duluth, Hermantown, Ashland, Superior, Cloquet, Brainerd, Bemidji, Cross Lake, Fergus Falls, Ely, Virginia, Hibbing, Grand Rapids and Two Harbors. Goodwill stores also will offer plastic bag recycling for customers who want to donate bags.
Global retailer Aldi, which operates stores in Superior and Duluth, also does not offer free plastic bags at checkout.
While Goodwill and Bag it Duluth issued a joint statement about the new policy, Vezina said Goodwill “independently came to this decision and is not formally affiliated with Bag it Duluth.”
Jamie Harvie, Bag it Duluth coordinator, said he expects the Goodwill move to set a precedent with other retailers in the region.
“We are confident that Goodwill’s decision to end the give away of single use carry out bags will embolden other businesses to follow their lead, create a culture of reuse and ideally position Duluth at the center of a new regenerative economy,” Harvie said.
Bag it Duluth formed in January and announced a campaign for a Duluth city ordinance that would ban thin plastic shopping bags and impose a minimum 5 cent fee on all paper bags distributed within the city.