Single-use plastic carrier bags clog up landfills, escape into the countryside and the ocean, and are ultimately one of the biggest environmental problems facing the world today. Most businesses want to move away from them, but it’s ultimately the customer’s choice whether to request them or not. Being unable to provide single-use plastic bags may aggravate customers, so you might want to keep some available, but you can also follow the tips below to make your customers more amenable to an eco-friendly alternative.


Charge for Their Use

It is currently only larger businesses (retailers with more than 250 employees) who are required to charge 5p for every plastic single-use plastic carrier bag that a customer uses. However, small businesses can still enact the charge themselves in order to deter use, and customers aren’t likely to complain since most will have gotten used to that charge at chain supermarkets. Make sure you put the money produced by such fines to an eco-friendly purpose; you will be able to point this decision out to any customers who think you’re trying to profit.

Offer Incentives

Fines are a great way to stop customers from relying on plastic bags, but you can also be a little bit more pleasant by offering rewards as well as enacting charges. For example, many retailers now offer points systems; if you’re one of them, you can start providing extra points for customers who bring their own bags or pick up a more eco-friendly bag instead.

Stock Something Better

It probably sounds obvious, but if you’re going to try to dissuade your customers from using plastic bags you need to provide them with something else. Of course, many customers will bring in plastic bags that they’ve used before or have a backpack, bag for life, or other such option to use instead, but this will not always be the case.

This is why you need to have a strong selection of alternative bags on offer. Basic paper bags work great for smaller purchases, but you should also consider a larger bag for life made from a material such as cotton, canvas, bamboo, or jute.