In Southwest Virginia, remembering to bring custom shopping bags can earn money for charity! “Raising the Ante” is a program at Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op in which shoppers earn a poker chip for every reusable shopping bag they use. Each chip is worth $0.05.
Customers drop their poker chips into a box representing one of four charities that change monthly. At the end of each month, all the poker chips are tallied, and that money is donated back to the charities.
The majority of the donated funds come from the store’s cost savings on paper and plastic bags. Those bags cost the store between three and nine cents each.
Since the program began in November 2011, more than $6000 has been raised–equivalent to a reduction of 66,000 paper and plastic bags.