Bagging the Bag Habit

A Smart SMS Campaign From Sainsbury's Works to Cut Down on Shopping Bag Use

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Attempts to use SMS for marketing purposes are too often intrusive and not particularly useful. But the UK grocery chain Sainsbury's has found a smart way to use text-messaging for a good cause: reducing the waste from single-use shopping bags. As part of its ongoing campaign to train its shoppers to recycle bags, the UK grocery-chain has created a program that allows shoppers to receive a weekly text that will remind them to bring their bags to the store during their next visit.

Back in April, Sainsbury's announced plans to reduce the use of disposable bags in its stores by half within a year's time, giving away reusable carrier bags as a way to prompt a change in behavior. By Oct. 1, it was more than halfway there. Sales of the reusable bags have increased by 63% in the past year, but more than half of people don't reuse the bags simply because they forget to bring them on shopping trips. Sainsbury's has also removed disposable bags from sight in its checkout aisles, though the bags are still available upon request.

Bonus link: a Flickr photostream dedicated to plastic bags.
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