Retail giant Sainsburys has launched a text reminder service to encourage customers to take their carrier bags with them when they go shopping.
It is the latest move from the retailer to improve its environmental credentials and reduce bag usage.
Sainsburys found that 58% of shoppers still say the biggest barrier for not re-using bags is they forget to take them shopping and need a reminder.
Customers can now sign up to receive a weekly text reminder to take bags on their chosen day of shopping. Once a time and day is agreed, Sainsburys will send a free weekly text reminder to customers ahead of their shopping with a prompt to take their bags.
Sainsburys will follow Asdas initiative to remove free carrier bags from check-outs in all its stores. The bags will still be available by request but hidden from sight at the tills.
Six months ago Sainsburys pledged to halve the number of free disposable plastic bags used by its customers by April 2009 and Sainsburys claims that it is already half way to achieving this target.
Sainsburys chief executive Justin King said: Its extremely positive that so many of our customers have reduced their use of free carrier bags in a matter of months. The results clearly show that customers respond to being rewarded and reminded for re-using their bags, and we continue to believe that charging for single-use bags is not the only answer to achieving lasting benefits for the environment.
Instead, we want to make it easier for customers to be less reliant on free carrier bags prompt positive behaviour change. We are over half way to reducing bag usage by 50% by April 2009 and we hope our new texting service will drive change in a practical way that helps customers change their bag usage habits.
Psychologist Dr Aric Sigman added: Using new carrier bags is considered a relatively simple, superficial habit. Giving up a dependency on new carrier bags is not the same as giving up chocolate in that the main obstacle is to simply remember to re-use our carrier bags.
For more information see http://www.sainsburys.co.uk/aboutus/policies/recycling_energy_environment/removing_bags.htm