Closed Loop Partners — with founding partners CVS Health, Target, and Walmart, and joined by Kroger and Walgreens — is forming a consortium to reinvent the traditional retail bag. Collectively, consortium partners have committed more than $15 million to launch the “Beyond the Bag Initiative.”
Today, global risks from climate change, the global pandemic, and mounting plastic waste have revealed the vulnerabilities of our current system. The Beyond the Bag Initiative convenes some of the largest retailers in the United States to think outside the box and drive long-term, transformational thinking to address a complex global waste challenge. This three-year consortium welcomes additional retailers to join in to help create a less wasteful future.
Studies show that over 100 billion single-use plastic retail bags are used in the US every year, and less than 10% of these are recycled. Closed Loop Partners says that every year, plastic retail bags are among the top 10 items found on beaches and waterways worldwide.
Innovative design solutions to serve the function of today’s retail bag will be solicited from around the world through the consortium’s global Innovation Challenge, with an initial focus on implementation in the United States. Launched in partnership with design firm IDEO, the challenge invites innovators, suppliers, designers, and problem-solvers to submit their ideas for sustainable bag solutions. Closed Loop Partners will launch a Circular Accelerator, develop potential piloting opportunities, and aim to make infrastructure investments in support of the development of market-ready solutions.
CVS Health, Target, and Walmart – are calling on other retail leaders, from general merchandise to grocery, apparel, pharmacy, home goods, and beyond, to get involved. The Kroger Co. joins the initiative as the Grocery Sector Lead Partner and Walgreens joins the initiative as a Supporting Partner.
In 2018, McDonald’s joined Starbucks in the NextGen Cup Consortium and Challenge, launched by Closed Loop Partners. The rivals are working together to develop sustainable cups for foodservice.