When I first came to Guam at the end of 1993, at least one thing resonated when I went shopping.
Payless Supermarket would take 5 cents off your bill if you brought your own plastic bag. I was familiar with this concept from the U.K., where you go not only got a rebate for using your own bag, but got charged for a new plastic bag.
I would take my plastic bags to Payless until they fell apart.
Many people did not do that in the 90s. I actually could tell the cashiers (and can still remember) the cashier’s code for using a recycled bag. Payless staff would assume I worked for the company.
My husband politely declined to use my motley collection of plastic bags.
These days, we have cloth bags in all our vehicles and in the house and both of us use them when we go shopping. If you have ever donated a reusable shopping or cooler bag to participants at an event on Guam that I attended, I can assure you that I have taken the bag home.
Those bags don’t last forever, but they do last for years. I am probably only just now replacing some of the first cloth bags I used years ago.
And taking a couple of those cloth bags into Payless or anywhere I shop has become a habit.
In the UK, there is still a charge for not bringing your own bag, but it has extended to all retail outlets. That actually is an Economic Union directive, so the initiative has spread throughout the member countries.
Some U.K. stores will give you a paper bag, because there is an understandable reluctance to put certain goods (like a gown destined for one of our Guam galas) in a recyclable bag that you have previously used to carry potatoes home in.
Our lead story shines a light on some of the sustainability initiatives that companies have introduced and also surveyed companies as to their participation in sustainability.
Wherever you are reading us, we welcome your news on what you are doing for sustainability at your own company or organization — you can let me know at [email protected].
It could be that you will stimulate another company’s action not only by setting an example, but by the realization at another company that it can incorporate into its business plan whatever it is that your company is doing.
And employees are typically very happy to participate in any recycling initiatives at their companies.
As for me, I am not ashamed to say that those 5 pennies or 5 cents were enough of an incentive for me to begin re-using bags, a permanent habit now.