Friday, April 11, 2008

Going Green with even Greater Purpose

Reusable shopping bags are big. Stores are offering them to save the evironment, but are finding other benefits along the way:

- Reduced quantities of plastic bags are needed

- Enriched connections are made with customers who appreciate the chance to do a little good by using the bags

- Visibility of the store is enhanced when the bags are returned to the store (or other places--as in my case--the gym, the dry cleaners, the park, the beach, the farmers market....)

While in New York not long ago, I saw two enhancements to this already exciting program. The first was in a college store. The second in a specialty grocery.

1. NYU Bookstores uses Green Bag as a source for their reusable shopping bags. But the neat part is when you choose to buy one. Buying one of these bags from the store earns you a "wooden nickle" (actually worth a quarter, I think) to put in one of four bins on your way out. See the pic above. That's donating real "coin" to the charity of your choosing. Wow! That's doing good, from doing good, that promises to help you do good later, as well. Pretty good!

2. At the Food Emporium, at the Queens Street Bridge, they take a slightly different approach. Still a choice of purchasing a reusable shopping bag with proceeds benefitting one of 3-4 charities. But for they took a specialty/gift approach and created four different bags--each with a rich imprint tied to the charity that would benefit from your purchase. Think Bengal tiger for the zoo or a bamboo-munching panda for the National Wildlife Federation.

Two great twists on an already great concept!

Tony Ellis, CAE

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