Some grocers abandon rebates for reusable bags

Lynne Curtiss
Lynne Curtiss places reusable Kroger shopping bags in her car. The nation's largest grocery store chain has eliminated a bonus for shoppers using their own reusable bags, even at a time when some cities have banned or put fees on the use of plastic bags.Al Behrman / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Supermarkets are finding a little bit of green doesn't make a big difference in breaking shoppers of the "paper or plastic?" habit.

Some chains including Kroger and Safeway are starting to move away from the pennies-per-bag rebates, saying they don't do enough to keep customers from forgetting reusables at home or in their cars.

Grocers save money when customers bring reusable bags. They also want to stay ahead of bans and taxes that could cost them or their customers more money.

Kroger Co., the nation's largest supermarket chain, had been giving three- to five-cent rebates or fuel discounts for each reusable bag.

But it ended the bonuses this year in some regions. Kroger officials say they're focusing more on promotions and educational efforts, investing in signs and other visible reminders.