One of the most polluting wastes in the world is plastic. Unfortunately, it is the material we use the most in our daily lives, such as when we go shopping and the products we buy are filled with plastic bags. Faced with this situation, the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bad, managed by Closed Loop Partners, announces the launch of multi-institutional pilots to promote sustainable alternatives to the single-use plastic bag, so that the use of these new forms will soon be accelerated.
According to a Waste Today article, these pilots that the consortium hopes to launch belong to the Beyond the Bag global innovation challenge, an initiative that is still fine-tuning its solutions, evaluating multiple factors such as technical feasibility and desirability. The pilots are expected to run initially for six weeks. Expectations are still awaiting feedback on the performance of these first steps.
First steps to change plastic bags
Beyond the Bag Challenge is composed of ChicoBag, Fill it Forward, Goatote, and 99Bridges, the winners of the challenge who will begin pilot testing at nine CSV Health, Target, and Walmart stores in Northern California, where there is expected to be a good reception. In this first test period, the solutions to be tested include multiple reusable bag models that meet the needs of customers, to help extend the lifespan of retail exchanges, and to provide visibility about the lifecycle of a bag, so that many more people have knowledge about this polluting material.
Not only the in-store pilot tests will be put into operation. Initiatives from Domtar, PlasticFri, and Sway, companies that develop alternative materials to single-use plastic, and which also won the Beyond the Bad Challenge, will also be tested. On this occasion, their proposals will pass performance and material recovery tests in order to optimize their designs and meet the specifications of the recycling and composting facility.
Kate Daly, the managing director of the Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners, the company that manages the initiative, is confident of the good impact that Beyond the Bad Challenge will have. “To permanently eliminate the 100 billion single-use plastic bags currently used every year in the U.S., we are working collaboratively to build retail solutions that better meet customer needs while lessening the impact on the environment. “By testing new bag innovations in-store, we gain valuable insights that allow us to iterate quickly and expand to more communities.”
Pilot tests for the reduction of plastic bags in the future
The tasks of change began in July of last year when Closed Loop launched the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag, a group that formed some years ago among the retail sectors, which included CVS Health, Target, and Walmart. These founding partners collectively pledged $ 15 million to reduce the amount of plastic bags used in their stores.
This first pilot group is essential for the collaborative to grow and expand with a partnership that includes DICK’S Sporting Goods, Dollar General, The Kroger Co, The TJX Companies Inc, Ulta Beauty, Ahold Delhaize USA Brands, Albertsons Companies, Hy-Vee, Meijer, Wakefern Food Corp., and Walgreens. The team believes that the lessons learned from the pilots will help to better inform the interaction of the solutions and define whether further testing or investment will be needed to improve actions.
Members are willing to change the use of plastics
Senior vice president of corporate social responsibility and philanthropy and chief sustainability officer at CVS Health, Howard Boone, says the group is excited to test new sustainable design solutions to replace the single-use plastic bag. “Over the last several months, we’ve worked collaboratively with leading retailers and cutting-edge innovators, and we’re thrilled to now be able to bring our customers along on this journey to test these solutions.”
Amanda Nusz, the senior vice president of corporate responsibility at Target and president of the Target Foundation, envisions a retail industry that has accessible alternatives for all communities. “We’re proud to work together toward this goal alongside CVS Health and Walmart, as co-creation is key to our new sustainability strategy, Target Forward. We are thrilled to pilot these winning designs, as we know that collaboration and continuous iteration are integral to developing new potential solutions.”
Initiatives that aim at a change in our daily lives to generate a positive impact on the environment are necessary. For this reason, at eSmart Recycling, we work recycling computers to use part of the profits to return them in the form of computers for children and families with limited resources. We not only contribute to the management of e-waste, but we also contribute to the community so that a more competitive future is a reality for them.