Don't forget your reusable bags

In 2001, Publix created a program for environmental responsibility. The program began with an emphasis on energy conservation and has grown to include waste reduction, recycling, and conservation of other resources, including water.

From in-store displays to “Remember Your Bags” reminder signs on cart corrals, we encourage our customers to use reusable bags. Taking advantage of these environmentally friendly bags is important to our sustainability efforts because it minimizes the amount of plastic bags being sent to landfills or entering the environment through improper disposal. We really appreciate the use of reusable bags by our customers, and because of this, we asked our Sustainability and Purchasing departments to offer insight about what goes into creating the reusable bags you use during your shopping trips.

Sustainability Effort

At Publix, we believe it’s critical to find a balance between the needs of humanity and the needs of our planet. To reduce the number of plastic bags used in our stores, we started offering reusable shopping bags to our customers more than 20 years ago. However, it wasn’t until 2007 08_17_AJ_Sustainability_Image2that the idea really began to catch on.

Because of the surge in popularity of reusable bags, our use of plastic bags has dropped significantly. Though we are not able to count the exact number of customers that use reusable bags in our stores, we are able to estimate the number of disposable paper and plastic bags that we are saving as a result of reusable bags. Each store is given a plastic bag reduction goal and the results are tracked company wide. The numbers are impressive. Since 2007, we’ve hit a major milestone of saving over 7.5 billion paper and plastic bags!

To help meet their reduction goals, stores provide ongoing training to associates and pursue more efficient packing methods.

For those customers who prefer to use paper or plastic bags, we provide recycle bins at the front of each of our stores. We know that the plastic bags brought back and placed in recycle bins make up a substantial portion of our recycle stream and we’d like to thank you!

Fun fact: Our current plastic shopping bags consist of up to 35 percent recycled material rather than using new plastic products.

Creating Our Bags

The Green Bag Company manufactures the majority of our Publix non-woven polypropylene reusable bags. Non-woven polypropylene is a material known to be lightweight but strong. It is a recyclable fabric that is easy to clean and convenient to carry.

When it comes to creating our reusable bags, the Purchasing department collaborates with our 08_17_AJ_Sustainability_Image3Marketing team to develop the designs and graphics you’ve come to love. Our Marketing team plays a key role in design elements such as artwork, color palates, and logo approvals.

We incorporate designs into the bags we offer every day, as well as the many different seasons and holidays. Our teams work almost a full year in advance on various graphics, designs, and colors for our bags. Some examples of designs include those for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, summer, and spring— just to name a few. Most of these are, and have been different from year to year. Simply put, our seasonal bag designs are made new for you every year!

Similar to the bags designed for holidays, we work on bags for key programs such as Food for Sharing and Tools for School. We also make special bags for store grand openings!

Fun Fact: More information on keeping your reusable bags clean after each visit can be found here.

Do you use Publix reusable bags? Let us know which designs have been your favorite.

Aijana W.

Written by

If you love to read about ways to use your favorite products and foods in surprising ways, Aijana W. is going to be the blogger to watch. A member of the Publix family since 2014, Aijana loves to explore the diverse corners of social media and hopes you leave our blog with great ideas as well as a better sense of who Publix is as a company. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, dancing, trying new restaurants, and of course – eating Publix GreenWise Salted Caramel Ice Cream!

25 Comments on “Publix Reusable Bags: An Inside Look

  1. Nicole

    For the people looking for the fold up squares with a snap, they sell them on Zazzle. MANY designs! I have my eye on a sea turtle, with the sentiment ‘keep the seas plastic free.’

  2. Tracy

    The efforts that Publix has made reducing plastic bag use and encouraging reusable bag use is noteworthy. I would like to see even more accomplished for 2020. I have some of those original bags and I am in about a 98% routine of using them since my children were small. They are grown and now do the same.

    I would like to know what extra measures the GreenWise Markets are taking and how these stores will compare in reduced waste.

    Thank you

  3. Belinda

    I have had the same reusable bags for years and they are quite durable. I noted in the description of those bags in this article that they are made of a “recyclable material.” A Publix employee once said to me that when my bags wear out that they are recyclable and just put them in those bins for plastic outside the store. Just wanted to verify that is true and to ask if the insulated reusable bags are also recyclable? If that is true that these reusable bags are recyclable, then I suggest Publix make that better known and help keep these bags out of the landfill too. I think it might be a good idea that Publix run a special program, say once a month, that gives every customer one reusable bag if they checkout and are NOT using reusable bag. Furthermore, I think those free bags should be used to pack their groceries to demonstrate how much can go in them, how strong they are and how the straps make the bags so much easier to carry groceries. I also think Publix should include a note in the free bag explaining the advantages of using the bags and the fact that they are made from recyclable material. If the bags themselves can be recycled when they wear out, then that note should include that fact too. It may encourage more people to stop using, or at least really cut back on plastic bags. It may also increase the sale of additional reusable bags. .

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  5. Ron

    I applaud the use of reusable bags. Why doesn’t Publix give a small refund for those who use their own bags? Other stores do and it’s a great incentive!

  6. Dianne

    I wish the checkers/baggers would stop enrobing everything in plastic! I’ve used reusable bags for years and I have reusable produce bags At checkout I have to ask them to use my bags because it is so automatic for them to start with the plastic. Then when the cleaning products are scanned, they reach for plastic to wrap them in. Please stop, just put the naked cleaning supplies in the reusable bag and move on! A hot deli chicken goes into a plastic bag. For heavens sakes, the reusable bags are washable,so if the chicken leaks I can wash the bag! even after asking the bagger to stop using plastic, I have to ask several times for them to remove an item from plastic and use my bags. So bothersome!

  7. Mark Risi

    I realize this is probably a dead article, but we need a Tampa Bay Lightning bag. Probably the most recent success of any Florida sports team. And you should be able to buy the team bags online as some areas don’t sell bags For teams that are not in your area.

  8. Shannon Carnevale

    I LOVE the old style canvas Publix bags my mom has had since I was a kid. I wish y’all would make more of those. When some came out for earth day a few years back ($3) I bought 6! I gave some away and I use them all the time. Bring back the sturdy canvas bag, please! Add fun designs like flamingos and alligators and citrus and palm trees! I will buy them all. They wash nicely, they are sturdy, and I am so happy knowing they are made of natural fibers.

  9. Karen Wray

    How does a person recycle your non-woven polypropylene bags? So odd that a bag is made of polypropylene to discourage use of bags made of plastic. Why not a natural product like canvas or jute? People like to have a choice.
    Also, what soft plastics do you recycle, #2 & #? anything else? Thank you, Karen

  10. Donna Klair

    My favorite bags are the colorful flamingoes from a few years back. They sold out quickly. Every time I am using them at Publix I get comments and compliments from the customers and the staff on how cute those bags are. Everyone asks where I got them and are surprised when I tell them “Publix” . They are always disappointed when I tell them I bought them several years ago.

    I think people would love to see more tropical bags, especially in the coastal areas.

    1. Matthew L.Matthew L.

      Hi Dick, you certainly can! Just toss them in the washing machine and launder in hot water with detergent. Then, run them through the dryer (or hang dry).

  11. Amy Bernola

    I love my reusable bags, and my favorite is my Earth Day bag with alligators and flamingos on it, from a few years back. I have to say that I have not bought new reusable bag in over a year, because the designs have just been kind of boring. I’m hoping that you’ll be coming out with some more colorful and fun bags, like in years past. I look forward to getting some new bags soon.

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  13. Phillip Jesurun

    Cool stuff. I like using the reusable bags because they definitely cut down on how many bags are used in general. There’s something I’ve been wondering about in regard to the bags for a while now…

    I remember a few years ago the Publix stores I went to used to offer reusable bags that you could fold up into little squares that you could secure with a small plastic button. I loved being able to hold a few of those in my car door for those impromptu visits I would have to make once in a while, but they soon disappeared, making me think they had been discontinued.

    Did they become a bit too expensive to manufacture? Or were they not selling as well as the normal ones?

    1. Aijana W.Aijana W.

      Philip, I was able to find out that based on the sales history we no longer carry the bags you’re referring to, and at this time we have no plans to bring them back.
      Thank you for stopping by to read our blog!

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