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CVS Health, Target, Walmart look to reinvent plastic bags

A partnership has been formed in an effort to tackle retail bag waste. 

The Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners — with founding partners CVS Health, Target and Walmart — is aiming to reinvent the single-use plastic retail bag, with the goal of identifying, piloting and implementing innovative alternative designs for the current single-use retail bag. 

Current alternatives to the plastic retail bag have yet to garner industry-wide support or widespread use by the public and many still have significant environmental impacts. To accelerate innovation for much-needed solutions, Closed Loop Partners – with its founding partners and joined by Kroger and Walgreens – is forming the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag. Collectively, Consortium Partners have committed more than $15 million to launch the Beyond the Bag Initiative. 

Studies show that over 100 billion single-use plastic retail bags are used in the U.S. every year, and less than 10% of these are recycled. Every year, plastic retail bags are among the top 10 items found on beaches and waterways worldwide.

“We believe in serving our guests and communities with actions that reduce our footprint on the planet,” says Amanda Nusz, VP of corporate responsibility, Target. “We’re proud to partner with Closed Loop Partners and other leading retailers to take on a challenge facing the entire industry. We welcome others to join us in this collective effort as we aim to design a better solution.”

The consortium is soliciting innovative design solutions globally with an initial focus on implementation in the United States. The Innovation Challenge, launching Aug. 3 in partnership with global design firm IDEO, invites innovators, suppliers, designers and problem solvers to submit their ideas for game-changing sustainable bag solutions. 

Closed Loop Partners will also launch a Circular Accelerator, develop potential piloting opportunities and aim to make infrastructure investments in support of the development of market-ready solutions.

"By coming together to tackle the problem, we aim to accelerate the pace of innovation and the commercialization of sustainable solutions," says Kathleen McLaughlin, executive VP and chief sustainability officer for Walmart. "Through efforts like the Innovation Challenge and the Circular Accelerator, we hope the Beyond the Bag Initiative will surface affordable, practical solutions that meet the needs of customers and reduce plastic waste."

For more on the survey, click here.

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