The Savers family of thrift stores (Savers, Value Village, Village des Valeurs and Unique) announced the decision to phase out plastic bags from stores across the United States and Canada by the end of 2018. In place of the plastic bags, shoppers are encouraged to use reusable totes or paper bags at all stores.
Eliminating the purchase of plastic bags will keep millions of plastic bags out of landfills and oceans for years to come. This is in addition to the more than 700 million pounds of clothing and textiles Savers keeps out of North America's waste stream each year.
"For the last 60 years, the Savers family of thrift stores has been committed to reducing North America's clothing footprint by extending the life of garments," said Tony Shumpert, vice president of recycling and reuse at Savers, in a statement. "The decision to phase out plastic bags from our stores was a natural next step in our journey to improving our communities and our planet."
According to National Geographic, approximately 18 billion pounds of plastic waste flows into the oceans every year from coastal regions, which is equal to five grocery bags of plastic trash sitting on every foot of coastline around the world. And in the U.S., shoppers use almost one plastic bag per resident per day. Plastic bags themselves make up a large part of the plastic in the trash, with scientists estimating that it can take 200 to 1,000 years for a plastic bag to degrade.
"Our commitment to Rethink Reuse goes beyond just clothing and home goods. Every choice we make can make a big environmental difference," added Shumpert. "The reality is that much like the environmental impact of the clothing and textile industry, the impact that plastic bags have on our planet is staggering—it's up to all of us to be environmentally conscious in our day-to-day lives and business practices."