HUTCHISON, Kan. — Dillons, a subsidiary of Kroger here, has discontinued a 5-cent credit given to shoppers who bring their own plastic or canvas bags to the store when shopping, according to a report in the Salina [Kansas] Journal. The Dillons bag-credit program had been active since the 1980s.
The company said it would redirect money reserved for the bag credits toward new environmental efforts, such as an expansion of store recycling efforts and a new composting program geared toward generating less trash for state landfills. The decision was made based on input from local focus groups, who said they believed the money from the credit would be better used for other environmental projects.
Dillons also offers its customers bag recycling centers, which recycled more than 22 million plastic bags during the past year alone, according to the Salina Journal, and the success of these centers was one reason why the company agreed that the 5-cent bag refund was no longer necessary.
“We appreciate our customers' continued efforts to help us lessen our impact on the environment and particularly your interest in helping us reduce the amount of plastic and paper bags used to carry groceries,” Joe Grieshaber, Dillons president, wrote in a letter sent to customers. “Together, the great success of our plastic bag recycling efforts has made our 5-cent bag refund program a relatively ineffective way for us to positively impact the environment.”
Each letter contained a coupon for a free canvas shopping bag.
Kroger and several of its other subsidiaries appear to have dropped similar bag-credit programs during the holidays. Blogs including cincinnaticoupons.net, reallifedeals.com and luv2bfrugal.com all contained message threads indicating that bag-credit programs had been discontinued last month in different areas of the country.
Kroger's corporate website continues to state: “We encourage our customers to use reusable bags for their regular shopping trips because with every use, the amount of plastic and paper bags used is reduced.
“Our stores offer reusable bags for sale and many divisions have incentive programs in place for our customers who choose to use them.”