In the green-obsessed world of journalism, it's big news when a major retailer — or US city for that matter — decides to join in the effort to eradicate the plastic bag. I’ve become quite accustomed to learning of the efforts of, say, IKEA’s anti-plastic-bag campaign, while leafing through newspapers and magazines. So, when I picked up my recent Newsweek, I fully expected to read about retail’s latest green initiative.
I just didn't expect to learn about it on the first page—on the inside cover to be exact.
Staring up at me right inside the April 14 issue was a proposal from Target. Send them your used plastic Target bags, and they will send you a coupon for a free reusable tote. They'll even pay the postage by turning the cover of Newsweek, which features a pre-paid business reply label, into an envelope. How delightfully simple! You can bet I tore through my collection of plastic shopping bags looking for those iconic red bull's-eyes. Heck, I even considered running out and buying something at my local Target just to get the plastic bags so I could return them.
Target, which already prints 10 ways to reuse on the side of each plastic bag, partnered with TerraCycle, an eco-capitalism company, and Newsweek to turn plastic bags into reusable “Retotes.” Not only do the totes help to minimize the environmental impact of shopping, they provide an added consumer touch point and act as a gentle reminder of all the ways Target works to better its community.
I've come across a lot of cause ads in my time at Cone, and it really encourages me to see companies addressing greater social and environmental needs. But, never have I been so inspired to act as I was when I saw Target's spread. Why can't all retailers make it this easy? I have an entire kitchen cabinet dedicated to used plastic bags just waiting for an initiative like this.
So thank you Target for inspiring me, for reminding me that the smallest efforts can affect a greater change. I can only hope that you inspired your retail brethren to do the same.
You should be receiving my plastic bags any day now.
-Andrea List, Insights Supervisor