Critical Insights Across Our Focus Areas

From sourcing hundreds of innovative alternatives to the single-use bag from around the world, to launching the largest reusable bag tests in the U.S. market to date, we have gathered critical insights in understanding the cultural shift required to move away from our single-use culture. The Beyond the Bag Initiative exemplifies a collaborative approach that thinks outside the box, seeking solutions that align the interests of people, the planet and business. 

Bag Waste Reduction Strategies

We explore opportunities to further identify, test and scale proven bag reduction strategies across the U.S. 

  • Identifying Bag Reuse & Waste Reduction Strategies

    We identified 25 tried and tested strategies from 17 retailers to encourage customers to bring their own bag or go without one, creating an open-source resource to equip retailers to reduce single-use bag waste.


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  • Testing Bag Reuse Innovations

    We evaluated multiple factors in our multi-retailer reusable bag tests: from technical feasibility to desirability, testing solutions to see what resonates with customers and retailers and brings value to the recovery system after use.


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  • Testing Bag Return Models

    In New Jersey, where there is legislation banning single-use bags in certain stores, the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag tested a returnable bag service model in which customers borrowed a bag onsite, reused it and returned it at the same or different retailers store to be washed, redistributed and reused by additional customers. This offered a solution for when customers forgot to bring their own reusable bags. This pilot ran from April to July 2023.

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  • Testing Bag Waste Reduction Strategies

    To support customers, retailers across Denver and Tucson came together to test whether consistent signs, marketing, and prompts can help customers build the habit of bringing their bags. Our goal was to enable a broader cultural shift. More than 150 retailers participated––placing signs and asking customers “do you need a bag”––in more than 375 of their stores.


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Policy Activation

We empower retailers, guests, regulators, advocacy groups and innovators to activate data-backed policy best practices to eliminate single-use bag waste.

  • Collecting Data on Policy Impact

    We collected unique data on the impact of policy on single-use bag usage and identified best practices to share widely, including the most restrictive policies like New Jersey’s Get Past Plastics Act. The Consortium’s research helps provide recommendations to strengthen the impact of legislation through a variety of mechanisms, including bag fees, bans and design, and we share our data models on the potential environmental impact of legislation. 

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Innovative Solutions

We identify new solutions to drastically cut single-use bag waste in-store and at pickup, collaborating across the Consortium and industry to identify new solutions and measure their effectiveness in helping customers get their goods home while reducing single-use bag waste. 

  • Sourcing Alternative Solutions

    We sourced 450 innovative alternative solutions from 60 countries to reduce single-use bag waste. Nine winners were announced, chosen for their innovative solutions that met criteria including sustainability, business and technical viability, accessibility, customer experience, and alignment with reuse and recovery infrastructure.


    Discover opportunities to redesign the single-use  bag

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  • Refining Alternative Solutions

    We supported the refinement of alternatives to single-use bags, emphasizing the importance of thorough research, testing and collaboration to avoid unintended consequences of large-scale changes.

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We map out available recovery infrastructure, customer knowledge and design best practices for alternative materials like compostable bags and leverage these insights to engage in discussions for products like produce bags. 

  • Testing Bag Recovery

    We facilitated 78 product tests to ensure that the design of sustainable bag solutions aligns seamlessly with end-of-life recovery infrastructure, whether through reuse, recycling or composting. This process involved connecting the dots to align on best practices for design and material use, while also mapping potential end-of-life pathways to ensure materials remain in circulation. 

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Our Impact Areas

Drive reduction

of the total number of single-use bags used through education, incentives, operational changes, nudges and policy

Advance reuse

of existing reusable bags that you have at home or offering customers the option to “borrow” one as part of a reusable bag service

Switch where appropriate

to recoverable single-use bags made of renewable materials when reusable bags aren’t an option

Our Goal

A world without single-use bag waste

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