Since 2007, Publix Super Markets has led initiatives to reduce the use of paper and plastic grocery bags used at checkout. The company has emphasized the importance of sustainability by training front service clerks and cashiers to increase the number of items per bag, implementing bag reduction goals for each store, holding communication campaigns to encourage the use of reusable bags and donating reusable bags to non-profits and partner organizations throughout the southeast. Such activities have helped reduce the use of paper and plastic grocery bags by more than one million per day.
On Sept. 2, the number of bags saved since mid 2007 surpassed the 1 billion milestone. The company has offered in-store recycling of paper and plastic bags since the mid-1970s and introduced its first .99 cent reusable bags in mid-2007. Since the introduction, more than 13 million reusable bags have been sold at Publix locations.
In 2009, the company’s overall recycling rate was 45 percent. That year, 210,000 tons of cardboard, 7,000 tons of plastic and 2,200 tons of mixed paper were recycled by the grocery chain, which helped save approximately 5.2 million trees, 16.8 million gallons of water, and 1.8 million cubic yards of landfill space.