Walmart, Target, and CVS Health combine to create an alternative to traditional disposable plastic bags.
The Beyond the Bag Initiative was started, with an investment of $15 million. It invites business people and inventors to find a solution to get rid of the 100 billion plastic bags that are used by consumers in the United States every year.
The project will be coordinated by investment firm Closed Loop Partners, which already has experience in this area - it is working with McDonald's and Starbucks, which are looking for an environmentally friendly alternative to disposable soft drinks cups. The project was launched in 2018, and the first results are already being tested.
Previously, all three retailers had experimented with alternatives to plastic bags, but none of them found a suitable solution. The problem is that plastic bags are a great convenience for consumers, as they are cheap and reliable. But at the same time, they are complicated to recycle. Many processing companies in the USA refuse to accept them at all because thin plastic always clogs up the working components of processing machines.
So far, the best alternative to disposable bags is reusable bags that can be used for long periods at a time. The only problem is that consumers continuously forget to bring these bags with them. And carrying them all the time is not always convenient. To fix the situation, the Target network even began to provide small discounts to consumers who came with their packages.
However, there is a nuance here. To be considered environmentally friendly, reusable packages must be used for a long time. Thus, in the case of plastic bags, it should be used at least 37 times, while made of cotton fabric - at least 100 times. And it does not always work out. That is, although buyers are increasingly buying reusable bags, it can not be said that it mainly solves the problem.
For this reason, retailers are very hopeful for the Beyond the Bag Initiative project, although so far none of them have any idea precisely what the result should be. Most likely, it should still be the same plastic bag, but it can be easily and quickly recycled. The research will be conducted over 3 years.