A pre-earth day nudge: "Paper, plastic, or personal?"

Using canvas shopping bags at the grocery story instead of the usual paper or plastic ones is one small way to help save the planet. Many companies have adopted strategies for encouraging people to bring their own bags from home by giving small rebates, charging small fees for plastic bags, or placing displays for reusable bags near the checkout counter.

Reader Will Katz sends along another approach stores may want to consider using. Instead of asking customers if they want to use “Paper or plastic?” Katz suggests that clerks tweak the question by asking “Paper, plastic, or personal?” He says there are lots of advantages.

-It costs nothing to implement.

-It plants the seed of an idea in shoppers’ minds and reinforces it every time they shop.

-It keeps the alliteration, making it more memorable.

-As more people got in the habit, bag usage would extend to other stores or shopping situations.

-If the supermarket provided canvas bags for sale at the checkout area, implementation would be immediate.

And if supermarkets didn’t provide canvas bags in the checkout aisle (say, because the markup on candy is a lot better), reminding the customer about reusable bags would still be a worthy service.

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