Plastic waste is an ongoing problem, and a large contributor is single-use plastic bags. After only one use, they are often discarded as trash and are never fully broken down in landfills. In efforts to combat the issue, the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag collaborated with retail sectors to create The Beyond the Bag Initiative, which aims to identify, test and implement new design solutions to replace the single-use plastic retail bag. The initiative challenges innovators, suppliers, designers etc. to submit designs, and last year’s winner just launched a reusable bag system in select New Jersey stores.
GOATOTE is piloting a reusable bag system with the help of 99Bridges and their technology platform to power the system. The New Jersey ban of single-use plastic bags began this month, along with other policies that help combat the plastic waste crisis, and GOATOTE has devised a solution. Customers will now be able to check out reusable bags, then return them via in-store kiosks in select CVS Pharmacy and Target stores across Jersey City, Howell Township, Watchung, North Plainfield, Wall and Marlton.
The collaboration helps test the viability of reusable bag systems, as well as strengthen the system for future expansion. Managing director of the Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loob Partners, Kate Daly, voiced her enthusiasm for the pilots stating, “We’re excited to see GOATOTE and 99Bridges’ progress and continued working with the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag Partners, such as CVS Health and Target. As the demand for reusable bag alternatives rises, especially amidst recent policy changes and a growing plastic waste crisis, we look forward to seeing continued impact on the ground as innovators further develop and grow reusable bag solutions.”
Reusing resources rather than extracting new ones closes the loop on a circular economy, and brings the world one step closer to a more sustainable cycle. Plastic bags can take up to one thousand years to fully break down, and even then do not ever fully break down but photo-degrade. This creates microplastics that absorb toxins, further polluting the environment.
By creating a reusable bag system, GOATOTE and 99Bridges have provided customers with an environmentally friendly alternative to single-use plastic bags, and will also contribute to the reduction of global plastic waste.