The program, which runs through July 31, encourages customers to “skip the bag” when making purchases at AT&T’s retail stores in Northern California. AT&T will donate 10 cents to The Nature Conservancy for each checkout bag its customers choose to forgo.
Customers can donate additional funds to The Nature Conservancy at Northern California AT&T stores throughout the campaign.
AT&T is one of numerous companies that have launched plastic bag elimination programs in recent years. Swedish-based furnishing retailer Ikea began phasing out plastic bags back in 2007. Last year, Publix Super Markets announced that initiatives started in mid-2007 saved two billion single-use paper and plastic shopping bags.
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment announced plans to eliminate plastic shopping bags from the 10 theme parks it operates by the end of 2012. The move will make it the largest theme park operator to make this commitment, according to the company.
Some local and state governments have passed legislation to reduce plastic bag use. Curbs on shopping bag use, including taxes and outright bans, began to spring up in 2010 and continued through 2011. More than two dozen cities, including Seattle and San Francisco, have banned such bags or imposed fees for using them.
A few have cautioned against the anti-plastic bags movement. Conservative think tank National Center for Policy Analysis said plastic bag bans incur hidden economic and environmental costs that are “virtually ignored.”
NCPA senior fellow H. Sterling Burnett warned in a column last year that plastic bags could save U.S. jobs. He noted that China is the world’s largest maker of reuseable bags, while while many plastic bags are made on American soil. Bag bans could then be “handing China control of yet another industry.”