While cities like Los Angeles are passing laws to ban nonbiodegradable plastic bags from being distributed at supermarkets, on the East Coast the supermarket chain Stop & Shop has ended its reusable bag rebate. Customers who bring in their own bags will no longer get back 5 cents per bag. Stop & Shop spokespeople said it was a regional policy decision to stop the rebate–as a test. “We had been doing it for years, but there’s really not much changing on the meter.” While customers said they thought the rebate was nice, “it wasn’t necessarily changing their behavior.” The company says it will continue to encourage people to reuse plastic bags, and has announced it will make a $10,000 donation to the environmental group Connecticut Forest and Park Association.
According to Environment Washington Research & Policy Center, nationwide, only 4.3% of plastic bags end up getting recycled. The rest are thrown away, and many end up in streams, rivers, and eventually the ocean.