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July 06, 2009

Retailer's Bag Fee Cuts Consumption by 70%

Yahoo Finance - 06.29.09

“Four weeks after introducing a $0.05 charge for single-use grocery bags, Metro grocery stores across Quebec and Ontario (Metro, Metro Plus, Super C and Marche Richelieu) are reporting that 70 percent fewer bags have been distributed in store, when compared to the monthly average.

Demand for reusable bags has increased by five times since June 1, when the fee was implemented. Such positive results will help Metro reach its goal of reducing the distribution of single-use grocery bags by 50 per cent by the end of 2010...”

Read the article: Distribution of single-use grocery bags decreases by 70 per cent at metro (06.29.09)

Our Take: We’ve long been in favor of bag fees as way to influence change in consumption habits. Usually, it takes government action (like the PlastTax or Seattle’s proposed bag fee) to establish a fee, but this is a great example of a retailer taking the matter into their own hands – and succeeding!  A 5-cent fee is generally thought to be too small to really change consumer behavior, but this example shows that every bit counts! 

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