Walmart, Target and CVS Team up to Reinvent the Plastic Retail Bag
Target, Walmart, CVS Health and more are teaming up to try to reinvent the single-use plastic retail bag.
Led by The Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners, the new group aims to reinvent the retail bag by identifying, testing and implementing viable design solutions and models that more sustainably serve the purpose of the current retail bag.
The “Beyond the Bag” initiative convenes some of the largest and most influential retailers in the U.S. to think outside the box and drive long-term, transformational thinking. To accelerate innovation, Closed Loop Partners along with founding partners CVS Health, Target and Walmart, joined by Kroger and Walgreens, are forming the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag. The Kroger Co. has joined the initiative as the grocery sector lead partner, while Walgreens joins as a supporting partner.
“We know how important it is to bring our customers along on our sustainability journey, keeping in mind that most are looking for convenience with minimal environmental impact,” says Eileen Howard Boone, CVS Health's SVP, Corporate Social Responsibility & Philanthropy and chief sustainability officer. “This collaboration with Target, Walmart and other like-minded retailers and innovators allows for collective reach that can be truly impactful.”
Collectively, Consortium Partners have committed more than $15 million to launch the Beyond the Bag Initiative. The three-year Consortium welcomes additional retailers to join in to help create a less wasteful future.
“We believe in serving our guests and communities with actions that reduce our footprint on the planet,” says Amanda Nusz, vice president 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.”
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.That’s why this initiative aims to take a holistic view of the challenge and solutions, aligning consumer convenience and product innovation with the equally important infrastructure for recovery or reuse of any alternatives developed.
“During challenging times, unexpected and unprecedented collaboration is required and we’re excited to work with leading retailers like CVS Health, Target, Walmart and others – along with the entire industry – to take effective action," says Kate Daly, managing director of the Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners.
Innovative design solutions to serve the function of today’s retail bag will be solicited from around the world through the Consortium’s global Innovation Challenge, with an initial focus on implementation in the United States.
Join the Challenge
Starting August 3, the Beyond the Bag Challenge, launched 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 launch a Circular Accelerator, develop potential piloting opportunities and aim to make infrastructure investments in support of the development of market-ready solutions.
If you have an idea or a solution for an environmentally-friendly single-use bag, retail bag alternatives, reusable models or an altogether new delivery system, please submit your idea through the Beyond the Bag Challenge's website until September 10. Winning solutions are eligible to receive a portion of $1 million in funding and selected ideas are eligible to participate in the Beyond the Bag Accelerator and access potential piloting opportunities.
“By coming together to tackle the problem, we aim to accelerate the pace of innovation and the commercialization of sustainable solutions,” says Kathleen McLaughlin, EVP 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.”