Bring Your Own Bag ... and Use It for Good

By Kristie Snyder,

GreenLeaf Editor

tolkensRemember back when GreenStar gave you a nickel for each reusable bag that you brought from home to use at the store? That concept is back... with a twist. Beginning April 11, for every bag that a shopper brings to reuse at the registers, he or she will be rewarded with not a nickel back, but the ability to donate that nickel to a local community organization.

Of course, if you don't remember to BYO-bag, we'll still have paper and reusable cloth bags at the registers for you. But if you do remember, you'll be given a wooden token for each bag used. On your way out of the store, pick one of three local non-profit organizations presented near the Customer Service desk, toss your tokens into the box, and your donations will be tallied up and made to each organization at the end of each month. (Fun trivia fact: the tokens are themselves reclaimed from the waste stream. They are unused seconds manufactured for businesses like bars, casinos, campaigns, various tourist traps, and who-knows-what else. Each one will be a surprise!)

The start of the program kicks off GreenStar's annual 12 Days of Earth Day. It's a way to encourage reuse and support our community at the same time. The first lineup of worthy recipients is the Ithaca Children's Garden, Cayuga Dog Rescue, and the Robin Fund, which helps local individuals and families in financial distress. The recipients will change periodically; if you'd like your organization to be considered, email Marketing Manager Joe Romano at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

According to Joe, the program is based on similar bag reuse/donation programs at other co-ops, such as the Port Townsend Food Co-op in Washington state and the First Alternative Natural Foods Co-op in Corvallis, Oregon. "This is a great way to kick off our 12 Days of Earth Day," says Joe, "and we love being able to simultaneously look out for the Earth and take care of our local non-profits."

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