The very first story posted on PBBR in "Grassroots Efforts" was about the 'Just Bag It' project in Hailey, Idaho, USA.
Elizabeth Jeffrey, Project Manager, reports that the project involved many organizations, including retailers and high school students.
The three largest area retailers joined the project at the outset and proved to be a benefit in many ways. Not only did they help publicize the campaign, but as partners, they helped set benchmarks for results.
The number one goal of the year-long project was to reduce plastic bag consumption. Results were:
> Atkinsons' Market saw a 26% reduction in plastic bag use
> Albertsons achieved a 15% reduction
> King's came in with a whopping 73% reduction in large bags and 10% reduction in regular bags.
Another goal was to increase the re-use of bags and on that front, Atkinsons’ Market reports that for 2010, 12% more customers are shopping with reusable bags.
Furthermore, to increase the recycling of plastic bags, Atkinsons' Market coordinated with a plastic bag manufacturer 50 miles away to establish plastic bag recycling at all three of its stores in Blaine County.
"All three of these partners have agreed to work with Hailey over the next three years to implement further improvements in reducing the use of plastic bags", stated Ms. Jeffrey.
"One of the further outcomes is that the high school environmental club got involved through our logo competition and has gotten very excited about the goals of our project. They've started a letter writing campaign to local businesses and politicians and are looking at introducing an ordinance to the city council and/or as a referendum to the next general election".
Also, the City of Hailey has named Earth Day as 'Plastic Bag Free Day'.
Ms Jeffrey summarized, "We've completed the project now, and maybe it has inspired some interest that will take it forward through a continuation grant and through some citizen initiatives".