No More Green Bag Tag Savings at CVS

May 8, 2013
cvs green bag tag

CVS has ended its Green Bag Tag cash back program.

Last night I discovered that the CVS Green Bag Tag program was ending. It had been a few weeks since I’d shopped at CVS, and when I got a $2 CVS ExtraBucks coupon on my receipt, I noticed that it was a “thank you” reward for using the Green Bag Tag program, which CVS had discontinued as of April 30, 2013.

I searched the CVS corporate website for an announcement about the program ending. The fact that the Green Bag Tag landing page has shut down should have been my first clue. Then, all I could find was the press release from 2009 announcing the start of the program. Here’s what CVS had to say back then about why it started the program:

According to The Wall Street Journal, approximately 100 billion plastic shopping bags are used in the U.S. each year, and only roughly one to three percent of those bags are recycled. To encourage shoppers to cut down on the use of single-use plastic bags, CVS/pharmacy has introduced a new product and program called GreenBagTag which rewards members of the company’s ExtraCare loyalty program for declining plastic bags when making a purchase…On every fourth scan, GreenBagTag cardholders receive a $1.00 Extra Buck on the bottom of their receipt. Extra Bucks are like free CVS/pharmacy money that can be used on nearly anything in the store.

You may recall that I was on the fence for awhile about purchasing a Green Bag Tag, because I wasn’t sure that spending $.99 to save a future $1 was worth it. Boy, am I glad I ended up getting one of these tags.

For more than three years, as part of my shopping at CVS, I have brought my own bag and scanned my Green Bag Tag every time I checked out. In no time I made back that initial $.99 investment. It was smart for me to continue to use this tag, plus take advantage of CVS’s Extra Bucks Rewards program (which does not seem to be going away, thank goodness), because CVS is the most convenient drug store for me to do my shopping. It was easy for me to become a loyal CVS shopper.

I don’t plan to change how I shop at CVS, because I can still earn Extra Bucks based on specific shopping purchases. I’m just sad that I’ll no longer earn a $.25 bag credit every time I go to the store.

Speaking of bag credits, since I first wrote about stores that reward customers for bringing their own bags, fewer and fewer stores have continued to offer bag credits. Based on my current research, the following stores will continue to give you a discount, albeit a small one, when you bring your own bag:

  • SuperFresh (2 cents)
  • Target (5 cents)
  • Trader Joe’s (some store locations enter you in a contest to win a Trader Joe’s gift card or some other prize)
  • Whole Foods (at least 5 cents, though I’ve read that in some locations you can choose to donate your bag credit to a good cause if you’d like)

Sadly, that’s about all I could come up with. If you know of national retailers that are continuing to offer bag credits when you bring your own bags, please post a comment to let me know. I would love to see this list grow again over time.


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