News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


Subject :

Palo Alto Retailers Sought To Partner In BYOBag! Campaign
Contact : Annette Puskarich, Recycling Coordinator, City of Palo Alto Public Works Recycling Program    650-496-5911
Palo Alto, CA - Palo Alto retailers are being sought as partners for a campaign encouraging shoppers to bring their own bags when they shop. The BYOBag! Campaign is designed to educate and help shoppers break their single-use and disposable carry-out bag habit and opt for a reusable bag instead.  Single-use and disposable bags, whether paper or plastic, create waste, litter and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.

A recent survey of Palo Alto shoppers found that grocery and pharmacy shoppers used reusable shopping bags less than 10% and 2% of the time, respectively. Palo Alto shoppers chose disposable paper and plastic carry-out bags 82% and 73% of the time.

"We are enlisting retail partners to help remind shoppers to do their part for the environment and future generations. We know Palo Alto can do better and it would be great to see shoppers bring their own bag whenever, wherever they shop. It is such a simple way to make a difference," says Annette Puskarich, City of Palo Alto Public Works BYOBag! Campaign Coordinator.

The issue of disposable carry-out bags is in the news almost daily. Two local grocers, Country Sun Natural Foods and Whole Foods, have already made the decision to voluntarily eliminate plastic carry-out bags. Country Sun eliminated the bags mid-February and Whole Foods plans to by April 22 (Earth Day) this year. 

"The writing was on the wall when we heard that the City of San Francisco was going to be banning plastic shopping bags. We thought that as a longtime Palo Alto business whose primary concern has always been health of the environment and our customers, we should be on the forefront of this movement. After we made our decision, we heard Whole Foods was eliminating plastic bags by Earth Day but it didn't make any sense for us to wait that long. We've always encouraged our customers to use reusable bags by giving five cents off when they bring in their own, and by offering canvas, cotton string, nylon Chico BagsĀ® and "green" bags," said Elena Silverman, Manager of Country Sun.

All Palo Alto retailers are encouraged to participate in the BYOBag! Campaign, whether they are a bike shop, pharmacy, bookstore, grocer or boutique. There is no fee to become a BYOBag! Campaign Partner and retailers receive free advertising in exchange. Retailers have the choice of various tiers in which to partner; the higher the tier, the greater the free advertising benefit. Incentives for shoppers using their own bag, selling reusable bags, and placing posters and signs in stores are just a few of the commitments retailers are making as partners in the Campaign.

What Palo Alto BYOBag! retail partners are saying about the Campaign:

"The City of Palo Alto's BYOBag! program is a great step in raising awareness of an issue that will be affecting us for generations. Books Inc., is more than happy to encourage less waste and more awareness of the environment we all share." - Calvin Crosby, Community Relations Manager, Books, Inc.

"Protecting the Earth's resources is a great concern of mine.  Global warming is real, yet we tend to become complacent, forgetting to recycle and reuse.  What better way to support "going green" than to encourage our customers to bring their own bags when shopping at J.J.& F.?  My wife and I just keep a stash of bags in our car to reuse each time we shop.  Protecting the environment needs to begin somewhere.  By supporting and participating in the BYOBag! Campaign, our business is making a difference in saving the Earth for future generations." -  Dennis M. Garcia, Owner, J.J. & F. Market

March 7 is the deadline for retailers to register as a partner to receive the April advertising benefits. The campaign runs April 1 to December 31, 2008. Information and registration are available on-line at or by calling 650-496-5910. This campaign is coordinated by the Public Works Recycling Program.