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CVS and Target stores to let shoppers check out reusable bags that can be returned next visit

Shoppers can now check out reusable bags at in-store kiosks and return them for fresh ones during their next shopping trip. This month, GOATOTE, a winner of the Beyond the Bag Challenge, is piloting their system in select CVS Pharmacy and Target stores across New Jersey, advancing reusable bag alternatives as the state enacts a ban on single-use plastic bags. GOATOTE's reusable bag kiosks are available in stores across Jersey City, Howell Township, Watchung, North Plainfield, Wall and Marlton. For these pilots, GOATOTE is partnering with 99Bridges for the technology platform that powers their reusable bag system.

As an increasing number of policies, including New Jersey's ban on single-use plastic bags, come into effect to help address the global plastic waste crisis, solutions that offer an alternative to the single-use plastic bag continue to gain traction. The rollout of GOATOTE and 99Bridges' systems in New Jersey helps test and strengthen the viability of reusable bag systems, one critical solution to addressing single-use plastic bag waste.

Shoppers in New Jersey can now check out reusable bags and exchange them later for new ones at Target and CVS Pharmacy

In August 2021, as winners of the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag's Beyond the Bag Challenge, GOATOTE and 99Bridges participated in the Beyond the Bag pilots––first-of-a-kind multi-retailer reusable bag pilots managed by Closed Loop Partners, with Consortium Founding Partners CVS Health, Target and Walmart. These pilots helped increase collective understanding of the existing enablers of and/or barriers to sustainable design solutions, identifying what resonated most with customers, how customers and employees use reusable bag systems, what provides value to retailers, and how innovators' solutions can evolve. GOATOTE and 99Bridges' roll out in New Jersey builds on their participation in last year's Beyond the Bag pilots, expanding on data points and best practices to help retailers, innovators and customers navigate the changing landscape for retail bags.

"We're excited to see GOATOTE and 99Bridges' progress and continued work with the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag Partners, such as CVS Health and Target. Their work today builds on the collaboration established through the Consortium, and the collective insights gained from the Beyond the Bag pilots, paving the path forward for more circular bag solutions," says Kate Daly, Managing Director of the Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners. "As the demand for reusable bag alternatives rises, especially amidst recent policy changes and a growing plastic waste crisis, we look forward to seeing continued impact on the ground, as innovators further develop and grow reusable bag solutions."

"Testing these new solutions that can replace the single-use plastic retail bag builds on our deep commitment to creating a more sustainable world," said Sheryl Burke, Senior Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility, CVS Health. "Over the last year, we've worked collaboratively with leading retailers and innovators to pilot these new solutions, and we're excited to bring our customers in New Jersey along on this journey."

"Our guests are feeling the growing burden of waste, and that includes single-use plastic retail bags," said Amanda Nusz, senior vice president of corporate responsibility, Target. "Thanks to Beyond the Bag pilot innovators like GOATOTE, and the collective efforts of this consortium, we're able to build circular capabilities in this space and bring our guests along with us, asking them to help co-create the sustainable and affordable solutions we know we need. We're grateful to continue these important collaborations."

"GOATOTE believes that implementing reusable bag systems in cities, states and countries that have enacted or are anticipating single-use plastic bag bans is critical to delivering ease for consumers while lessening impact on the environment," says Renee Lundahl, Co-Founder of GOATOTE. "We are proud to collaborate with leading retailers to advance our reusable bag system on the ground and help make reuse mainstream!"

"Together, we are creating a game changing alternative to single-use plastic bags; it marks an exciting milestone to make reuse a reality," says Derek Mak, Founder and CEO of 99Bridges. "Consumers will be all over our innovations! 99Bridges is delighted to be a strategic partner of GOATOTE to continue pushing the boundaries of what is possible."

Moving forward, the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag, which has worked with 9 winning innovators and convened 15 retailers to date, continues to support the progress of individual innovators, fostering connection and coordination with retailers and identifying best practices for impact on the ground. The Consortium will continue to test, listen, learn and collaborate to gather and disseminate the collective findings from a diverse suite of learning opportunities. The ongoing learnings will be shared with diverse stakeholders including policymakers, industry groups, NGOs, among others, helping to align incentives and efforts to enable the success of new systems. Ultimately, the Consortium, alongside our partners, aims to accelerate the catalytic change to a more circular system.

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