Friday, June 6, 2014

The Value of Bag Refunds

The cashier at Trader Joe’s asked if I wanted a ticket to enter the drawing for people who bring their own bags.  I said, “I’d rather have a nickel.”

The cashier looked confused.  “But you might win $25.”

I thought I might have been exaggerating, but I said, “I’ve been shopping here for 12 years and I’ve never won. If I got a nickel for each bag, I’d have over $100 by now.”

The cashier clearly didn’t believe me.

So, I went home and did the math.  12 years times 52 weeks is 624 weeks.
I shop on my bike, which limits my carrying capacity, so I go to the store 3 times a week.  That’s 1872 trips to the store. I often use two bags, but if I only used one bag per visit,  at 5 cents each, that’s $93.60. I was not exaggerating. As the inventor of the bag refund, I have a stake in this.

Obviously, I don’t choose my grocery store based on bag refunds.  And I don’t bring my own bags to get a rebate. My bags hook onto my bike rack, and enable me to get my groceries home without wearing them on my back.

I took the little rebate ticket. I filled it out, and put it into the raffle box. And then I thought, as a true eco-freak, maybe I should stop taking the tickets. Saving that little bit of paper might eventually save a tree.  That’s what the bag recycling is all about anyway.

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