Dollar General Joins Beyond the Bag Initiative

Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
Dollar General Joins Beyond the Bag Initiative
Dollar General will explore viable solutions resulting from the Beyond the Bag Challenge that can align with the operations of existing stores and customer needs.

Striving to lessen its impact on the environment, Dollar General Corp. (DG) has joined the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag as its value sector lead partner. The consortium, through its Beyond the Bag Initiative, aims to identify, test and implement viable design solutions that can more sustainably serve the purpose of the current plastic retail bag.

Approximately 100 billion single-use plastic bags, typically made of nonrenewable fossil fuels, are used in the United States annually, and less than 10% of these are recycled.

To replace the unsustainable retail bag, the Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners launched the Beyond the Bag Initiative in 2020 and currently has multiple work streams to spur innovation, identify best practices for policy and engage consumers. Recently, the consortium unveiled 58 shortlisted solutions from the Beyond the Bag Challenge, selected from more than 450 submissions from 60-plus countries. Challenge winners will be revealed soon.

As a sector lead partner, DG will direct priorities and activities for the Beyond the Bag Initiative in the context of the value sector of retail. DG and its almost 17,000 stores across 46 states will explore viable solutions resulting from the Beyond the Bag Challenge and recommend ways in which these solutions can align with the operations of existing stores and customer needs.

“Dollar General’s desire to be good stewards of our communities while reducing our environmental impact through sustainable and business-friendly practices inherently aligns with the consortium’s vision for a more sustainable retail industry,” said Steve Sunderland, DG’s EVP of store operations. “We understand industry-wide changes and innovative approaches need to be considered, and we look forward to working with Closed Loop Partners and the winning solutions to explore viable alternatives to the current retail bag.”

“We are delighted to welcome Dollar General to the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag, joining our founding partners CVS Health, Target and Walmart, alongside other leading retailers, to pave the way forward for a more sustainable future for retail,” added Kate Daly, managing director of the Center for the Circular Economy at New York-based Closed Loop Partners. “As an innovator in the sector, Dollar General’s commitment is critical to making circular solutions more widely available, while addressing the challenges of the single-use bag.”

Closed Loop Partners’ Center for the Circular Economy launched the consortium and its Beyond the Bag Initiative in 2020. Kroger joined as grocery sector lead partner, Dick's Sporting Goods as sports and outdoors sector lead partner, DG as value sector lead partner, and Albertsons Cos.,  Hy-Vee, Meijer and Walgreens as supporting partners, alongside Conservation International and Ocean Conservancy as environmental advisory partners. OpenIDEO is the consortium’s innovation partner.

Goodlettsville, Tennessee-based Dollar General operates over 16,900 stores in 46 states, employing approximately 140,000 associates. The company is No. 16 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's 2020 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. Walmart, Kroger, Walgreens, CVS Health, Target, Albertsons, Meijer and Hy-Vee are Nos. 1,3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 19 and 33, respectively, on PG's list.

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