‘Got Your Bags?’ campaign kicks off in San Jose
Statewide effort promotes reusable shopping bags and increases recycling

Non-profit, government and business groups joined together to kick off the “Got Your Bags?” campaign – a public education and outreach effort aimed at encouraging Californians to use reusable bags and bring plastic bags back for recycling.

California state law (AB 2449) requires grocery stores and pharmacies with more than 10,000 square feet of retail space to provide bins for the collection and recycling of plastic shopping bags. Yet research shows that consumer awareness remains low, and shoppers often forget to bring their bags back to the store. The same holds true for reusable bags.

“Our goal with this campaign is to give consumers that extra reminder so they translate good intentions into action,” said Christine Flowers-Ewing, executive director of Keep California Beautiful.

In San Jose, the “Got Your Bags?” campaign is working to bring together a coalition of partners that will help spread the important environmental messages in a number of creative ways. For example, Save Mart and Lucky Supermarkets are promoting the campaign at hundreds of stores throughout the Bay Area and Northern California, and this weekend will give away up to 80,000 reusable bags in their Santa Clara county stores.

“Our company and our stores work hard at educating our customers to reduce waste by using reusable bags and recycling their single-use plastic bags in our stores,” said Alicia Rockwell, director of public relations with Save Mart Supermarkets. “We all need to be reminded of the three ‘R’s’ and that is exactly what the ‘Got Your Bags?’ campaign is doing.”

The American Chemistry Council, which includes the Progressive Bag Affiliates – a group of manufacturers and recyclers of plastic bags and plastic resins in the United States – also are participating in the effort. “Plastic bags are too valuable to waste and should be recycled. We are delighted to work with Keep California Beautiful to help promote access to convenient recycling for San Jose residents,” said Tim Shestek, senior director of State Affairs with the American Chemistry Council.

The “Got Your Bags?” campaign originated as a grassroots effort with the Mariposa County Public Works Department (MCPWD) and the Mariposa County Unified School District, who worked together on a pilot stenciling project in local supermarket parking lots. MCPWD staff created the “Got Your Bags?” slogan and logo stencil design. The stencil painting was then incorporated into a lesson plan on recycling for summer school students.