Stores That Reward You For Bringing Your Own Bags

January 21, 2009

When I go food shopping these days, bringing my own bags has turned into a kind of game. Based on how long my shopping list is, I try to judge how many reusable bags I need to bring. The idea is to avoid using any paper or plastic bags from the supermarket.

I must be getting really good at this “game” because I always seem to have just enough bags or come home with some of the bags still empty. What would make this “game” even more worth my while was if my grocery store, Giant, would reward me for using my own bags. SuperFresh around the corner gives me $.05 for each bag I bring in, but SuperFresh is way more expensive to shop at, as is Shop Rite, which offers $.03 for reusing a Shop Rite bag and $.05 for bringing your own reusable bag.

If you’re wondering what stores will reward you (financially) for bringing your own bags with you when you go grocery shopping, this Frugal Hacks blog posting asks readers to list the stores that give a discount for bringing your own bags. Some of the stores that readers have listed that do reward you include:

  • Whole Foods
  • Kroger
  • Trader Joes
  • Albertson’s
  • Safeway

Someone mentioned getting a bag credit at Target. Has anyone tried that out? Do you have other stores to add to this list?


32 Responses to Stores That Reward You For Bringing Your Own Bags

  1. […] Bring your own bags and containers – Whole Foods and top supermarket chains praise (and sometimes pay) shoppers who use their own bags. Invest in glass Tupperware or give that empty Earth Balance […]

  2. […] your own bags and containers – Whole Foods and top supermarket chains praise (and sometimes pay) shoppers who use their own bags. Invest in glass Tupperware or give that empty cottage cheese […]

  3. […] shopping–especially if your grocery store gives you a discount for bringing your own bag (some Whole Foods give you $.10 per reusable bag used at checkout). Speaking of grocery shopping, my spies tell me that candy that does not feature anything […]

  4. […] reusable shopping bags with you when you go to the grocery store. Because I wanted to highlight the stores that reward you for bringing your own bag. In response to that post, I started doing some research into exactly which stores gave what kind […]

  5. barbara barna on January 24, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    My Met Foods in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn does not give a bag credit. Most people are bringing their own bags or having their groceries delivered which means they go in cardboard boxes which get recycled or returned to the store.

    Fairway in Brooklyn does not give a credit for bringing your own bags. And in fact, until my last visit there a week ago, they often got downright hostile because bringing your own bags upsets the bagging flow of the long check out lines, especially if you’re buying a lot of groceries for a family. However, they may be finally caving to the bring your own bag community.

    I have yet to get a back credit at the Target in downtown Brooklyn and don’t recall one at our new Trader Joe’s either.

    The only time I’ve ever gotten a bag credit was at a grocery store in Sonoma, CA.

  6. nhb on January 23, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    For the Day Without a Bag campaign that happened in LA County back in December, there were stores that did special offers for the event — select Bed Bath & Beyond, one Banana Republic outlet and a local boutique, Fred Segal Santa Monica — there was also stuff across the county at 99c Only, Ralph’s and Whole Foods.

    Would be great if year-round stores enacted a policy of NOT giving out a plastic bag when someone buys a SINGLE item…I see it all the the time how they give em out without even hesitating (not that most people say no sadly).

  7. Mary W. on January 23, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    I’m in the SF Bay Area about 13 miles south of San Francisco, and the Nob Hill Foods store by us (Redwood City) gives .05 credit for each bag you bring in to use. We love shopping at this particular store-the staff is great, the store does alot to contribute to the community, and they were one of the first in the area to do the credit for bags.
    We got our bags at Target-while they are cloth-they have an insert which most bags we’ve seen don’t have–it the bottom so that they stay upright and stable while in use, but folds down flat for storage. We’ve found them a great use for more than just grocery items and it feels good to be helping the environment.

  8. Karen on January 23, 2009 at 2:35 am

    Here in the Pacific Northwest, most grocery stores give .05 credit for bringing in your own bags or reusing bags. I bought 5 reusable bags at Fred Meyer (aka Kroger elsewhere) over a year ago because I liked the black color and the little plastic rectangles that let the bags stand up, but always shop at Top Foods. When I was in the check out line one day, the customer in front of me noticed my bags and asked the cashier if Top was owned by Fred Meyer. I had to admit I just liked the bags better. At one point, through some poor planning, I was using one the bags as a purse. Thankfully, I had a handbag intervention.

    I’ve also been taking along my canvas Trader Joe’s and PCC market bags when I shop at the thrift store or at the mall. So far, JC Penney has yet to give me a bag credit.

  9. Marty on January 22, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    On the Stop & Shop self check out question. The system has a ‘produce’ button has a bag credit item that you can press. It is on the honor system at my local Stop & Shop as they don’t check. Stop & Stop has signage next to the register to let you know and the folks working there have mentioned it a few times. Seems like they are really pushing it. My local Stop & Shop has had a few weekend where they have offered the purchase of the bags for 10 cents not the normal 99 cents.

    On another note I worked in Germany for over a year. Many of the stores didn’t give you a credit for bring your own bag but charged you 20 Euro cents (about 30 cents US with the exchange) for a bag if you didn’t have one.

  10. Erin on January 22, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    I shop at WinCo in California, they give a 5 cent per bag credit whether it’s cloth or you are reusing one of their store bags.

  11. Amy L Proietti on January 22, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Hi…@KinZ6 on Twitter –

    I live in MA and get a bag credit from Stop & Shop supermarket…even in the self-checkout lines!

  12. Alex on January 22, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    Sprouts Farmer’s Market in the Phoenix area takes 5 cents off for each reusable bag. Doesn’t seem like much, but every penny counts these days!

  13. little T on January 22, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Here in Arizona, the Trader Joe’s company offers a chance to win $20 in a raffle if you bring in either one of their paper bags for your groceries from a previous visit or if you bring in any of their “for purchase” bags. I did that once and was entered in the raffle. I didn’t win anything except for the warm fuzzy feeling of knowing I helped save the environment in my own small way by recycling my shopping bag. To me that’s a win! =0)

  14. Jill Pursell on January 22, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    I use reusable bags for everything- mall and groceries… and one of my favorite stores LuLuLemon Athletica gives you $.50 off and donates it to charity if you bring in a reusable bag. It’s definitely a benefit to carrying one.

    Also, if you don’t have a bag and you grab something they give you a reusable bag instead of plastic so that you will for future trips- they are cute and trendy too!

    I love the go-green initiatives of some stores.

    Any questions I’m @FabulousSavings on Twitter.

  15. Tarah Jakubiak on January 22, 2009 at 1:51 pm


    Earth Fare in NC will give money to a local charity for every re-usable bag brought in. Deep Roots Market will also give you a credit if you bring your own bags in.

  16. Helen on January 22, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    Hy-Vee and Price Chopper in the Kansas City area both give .05 for each bag you bring in whether that be a reusable bag or a paper bag from their store.

  17. Christine (PurpleCar) Cavalier on January 22, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Hi I’m @PurpleCar on Twitter.

    Superfresh, which is a chain in the northeast US, gives you $.02 for each bag you bring in, even if you don’t use them all.

  18. RENE on January 22, 2009 at 8:19 am

    Shoprita also offers discounts when using
    cloth bags

  19. Carolyn on January 22, 2009 at 7:45 am

    In CT, Stew Leonards (a wonderful fresh dairy & meat supermarket, like a Trader Joe/Whole Foods) does not offer cash back but when you reuse bags they enter you into a raffle for “being green” – I believe the raffle is either for a gift card to the store or a big food basket.

    Our local A&P Superfoodmart also does $.05 for each bag reused.

  20. cathy on January 21, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Now what would be nice would be if the supermarkets and other stores down here would do the same thing

  21. Di Hickman on January 21, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Trader Joes gives you a drawing ticket into a prize draw for free groceries.
    Target doesn’t offer incentives, BUT I heard they will be charging for bags in the future

  22. Charron on January 21, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    Does anyone know if Ralph’s in Rancho Cucamonga, CA offers any credit? I tried the corporate website but can’t seem to find any information. Thanks

  23. Hilary Pritt on January 21, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    I shop at Giant (in the DC metro area), and they give $.05 for each reusable bag (Giant bag or not).

  24. leahingram on January 21, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    Over on Twitter, people are telling me about other stores that offer bag credits or something similar–and the ones that don’t.

    Ralph’s Stores offers a credit, a Whole Foods in NYC gives 10 cents credit but you can donate that “credit” to a food bank (I like that idea).

    Target does NOT give a credit, which I find utterly hypocritical since Target worked with TerraCycle to make a reusable bag.

    Will post more updates as I get them.


  25. Keri M. on January 21, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    I do some shopping at Kroger, and they credit me .05 per bag. The ones I use are envirosax, I love them, and I get great comments about them all the time, even from baggers. I’m considering making some similar ones for gifts next Christmas.

  26. Jennifer on January 21, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    I shop at Whole Foods, Giant, Harris Teeter, and Kroger.

    Only Whole Foods offers the bag credit.

    In fact, at the other stores, I often get some attitude about bringing my own bags, because it’s not as convenient for the baggers.

  27. leahingram on January 22, 2009 at 7:56 am

    Sounds like Stew Leonards handles things like Trader Joes. Thanks for posting a comment.

  28. leahingram on January 22, 2009 at 8:32 am

    Yes, Shop Rite is very generous with bag credits.

  29. leahingram on January 22, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Hi, Purple Car. My SuperFresh in PA gives you 2 cents for reusing a plastic bag but 5 cents for a reusable bag. I need to check with their corporate people to see what’s up with their bag policy.

    Thanks for commenting.

  30. leahingram on January 22, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    How does that work in the self checkout? Does an employee have to verify that you’ve got the bags? That’s a nifty feature!

  31. leahingram on January 23, 2009 at 7:10 am

    The charge for a bag thing is probably going to become more commonplace in the US. IKEA already does it, and I heard a rumor that Target may start doing it, too. I’m still trying to reach out to the companies themselves to get the real deal. They aren’t making it easy.

  32. leahingram on January 24, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Wow, that sucks that these supermarkets are not offering any incentive for customers to bring their own bags. Also, I’m surprised that Trader Joe’s didn’t enter you into a prize drawing when you brought your own bags–everyone tells me that this is their policy. So, with so few stores providing an incentive to bring bags, I wonder if people will continue to do it. Or will the stores go the way of IKEA and charge for bags, at which point everyone will bring their own to avoid PAYING for a bag, right? But will the checkout people still be hostile?! Thanks for posting a comment.

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