Variety store retail giant Dollar General announced that it has joined the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag a coalition of retailers led by circular economy investment initiative Closed Loop Partners, aiming to find sustainable alternatives for the single use plastic bag.

The consortium’s ”Beyond the Bag” initiative was launched in July 2020 by Closed Loop Partners with founding retail members including Walmart, Target and CVS Health, Kroger and Walgreens, and has since been joined by other major retailers such as DICK’S Sporting Goods. The initiative’s goal is to find a sustainable solution to replace the current single-use plastic bag, by identifying, testing and implementing viable alternative design solutions and models.

Dollar General joins the consortium as its Value Sector Lead Partner, directing priorities and activities for the Beyond the Bag Initiative in the context of the value sector of retail.

Steve Sunderland, Dollar General’s Executive Vice President of Store Operations, said:

“Dollar General’s desire to be good stewards of our communities while reducing our environmental impact through sustainable and business-friendly practices inherently aligns with the Consortium’s vision for a more sustainable retail industry. We understand industry-wide changes and innovative approaches need to be considered, and we look forward to working with Closed Loop Partners and the winning solutions to explore viable alternatives to the current retail bag.”

According to the consortium, over 100 billion single-use plastic retail bags are used in the U.S. every year, and less than 10 percent of these are recycled. The average bag has a lifespan of up 1,000 years, yet is used for only approximately 12 minutes. Every year, plastic retail bags are among the top 10 items found on beaches and waterways worldwide.

Kate Daly, Managing Director of the Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners, said:

“We are delighted to welcome Dollar General to the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag, joining our Founding Partners CVS Health, Target and Walmart, alongside other leading retailers to pave the way forward for a more sustainable future for retail. As an innovator in the sector, Dollar General’s commitment is critical to making circular solutions more widely available, while addressing the challenges of the single-use bag.”