Reduce / Reuse / Recycle

December 23, 2013


Retail Chain Stops Providing Free Plastic Shopping Bags at All Stores

Keywords: Non-manufacturing industry Reduce / Reuse / Recycle 

Aeon Co., a major Japanese retailer, announced on September 11, 2013, that as of November 1, 2013, 203 additional GMS stores in the Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu areas will no longer provide free plastic shopping bags in the food department. The stores will instead start providing environmentally friendly biomass-based shopping bags for a fee to customers.

This means that all 423 GMS stores under the "AEON" banner will no longer offer free plastic shopping bags. In 2013, the retailer also acquired the world's first biomass certification from the international certification agencies SGSSA and UL Inc. for its paid-for shopping bags and take-home shopping baskets shoppers can use to carry their purchases.

In FY2012, Aeon succeeded in reducing plastic bag use by 1.8 billion plastic shopping bags. According to a survey conducted by the Japan Chain Stores Association, the percentage of AEON shoppers who refused to receive plastic bags was 63.4 percent, far exceeding the industry average of 47.9 percent, and amounting to a CO2 reduction of 167,000 tons. The retailer is carrying out measures to achieve a refusal rate of 70 percent in FY2013.

The goal of these efforts is to further promote CO2 reduction and environmental conservation. The proceeds from the paid-for shopping bags will be entirely donated to organizations engaging in environmental conservation activities in local communities. This allows even shoppers who purchase bags to contribute to saving the environment.