Bring the Old Bag Shopping
...a public engagement success story
The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) in B.C., population just over 32,000, has adopted zero waste as a goal. “Bring the Old Bag Shopping” is one of their campaigns, designed to reduce the number of plastic shopping bags used by their residents.
The catchy (“sticky”) slogan got people’s attention—it’s a bit risqué and made people take a second look. The region also spent considerable effort getting the local retailers on board. They started with one natural food market in Rossland, where using cloth bags seemed consistent with the values of the customers. They moved on to a local grocery chain, who liked that the bags distinguished them from the national chains. Then they began approaching other food stores. They provided the bags at cost for the retailers to sell and offered 50 ¢ per bag for the chance to put their Zero Waste logo on retailers’ existing reusable bags. The retailers made their own campaigns, such as offering free cookies if customers used reusable bags. Over 15,000 bags have been sold in RDKB (and many given away as well). That’s nearly half the population!