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As Retailers Cut Down on Single-Use Plastics, You May See One of These 9 Innovative Alternatives In Stores Soon

There’s nothing better than going for a long walk on the beach, but the vibe can definitely be destroyed when you look a little closer and see that the dunes and shoreline are littered with single-use plastic bags, which are one of the most commonly found items on beaches. That’s just one of the reasons why the Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners joined up with major retailers like Walmart, Target, and CVS to come up with a new way to reinvent the plastic bag with the Beyond the Bag challenge, and they just announced the winners. If you’re constantly trying to find the perfect reusable bag or just have a hard time remembering to bring your reusable bags into the store with you (guilty as charged), then you’ll be as excited as we are to hear about these eco-friendly new shopping solutions.

The winners of the contest include ChicoBag, Domtar, Eon, Fill It Forward, GOATOTE, PlastiFri, Returnity, SmartC, and Sway. They’ll receive funding, mentorship, and guidance so they can bring their products to market to help eliminate the need for single-use plastic bags, thanks to the support of the founding partners of the effort, CVS Health, Target, and Walmart.

The winners in the “Reuse and Refill” category were ChicoBag, which lets you borrow reusable bags at stores for those times when you leave yours at home or in the car; GOATOTE, which lets you borrow a clean reusable bag from a handy kiosk when you’re out and about; and Returnity, which makes reusable shipping and delivery bags and boxes to make online shopping more sustainable.

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Image: Courtesy of ChicoBag.

The next category is “Enabling Technology.” The winners here were Eon, which helps track how bags are being used; Fill it Forward, which creates tags that let you track your current reusable bags, learn how they lessen your environmental impact, and earn rewards; and SmartC, which is a rewards program for using reusable shopping bags.

Last but not least is the “Innovative Materials” category. These winners include Domtar, which is making a new stretchy, recyclable material for bags out of cellulose fiber; PlastiFri, which turns things like agricultural waste and non-edible plants into renewable materials, including their Starch-Based Compostable Bag; and Sway, a carbon-negative bag-maker whose products are bio-based and made from seaweed.

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Image: Courtesy of PlasticFri.

We’ll be honest, our reusable grocery bags are looking kind of gross these days, so we’re excited to see some of these snazzy new alternatives. And if one of these solutions really does prevent us from forgetting our bags in the car when we go to the store, that alone will probably save the country millions of single-use plastic bags a year.

Before you go, check out these natural cleaning brands that are safe for families in the gallery below:

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