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The Island Women of Pleasure Island have distributed nearly 4000 reusable bags in Carolina Beach and Kure Beach.  They are jumping on board with the mission to reduce single-use plastic bags polluting the ocean, according to Juliet Wright. 

With the goal of discouraging the use of single-use plastic bags in Carolina and Kure Beach, NC, about 35 businesses are selling the reusable bags to tourists and residents.  Sandpiper Marketing designed the bags with a map of the island on them, hoping it could also act as a tourist souvenir.  According to businesses, the bags are selling out quickly.

The bags are being sold for $5 each and so far, about $11,000 has been raised which will go back into the care and protection of Pleasure Island.  Great job islandwomen,org.

 

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L to R: Linda Weaver, Assistant Grocery Sales Manager – Grocery Non Foods Albertsons, Steven Batzofin, VP Marketing Earthwise, Greg McNiff, Vice President of Sales & Merchandising, Albertsons, Wayne Denningham, President, Southern California Division, Albertsons.

In April, Albertsons officially announced its 2013 Vendor of the Year Awards and honorees, recognizing key partners and suppliers for their contributions. In a formal letter to Steven Batzofin, VP of Marketing  here at Earthwise, Greg McNiff, Vice President of Sales & Merchandising, stated “over the past year, Albertsons has improved operating results across all departments and throughout all stores. Much of the credit for this success goes to our vendor partners. Among all vendors, certain partners stand out as consistently delivering “above and beyond” support to increase our sales as well as our customer service initiatives.” And, on behalf of the Southern California team, Mr. McNiff congratulated Steven as being the recipient of one of Albertsons 2013 Vendors of the Year.

Albertsons recognized Earthwise Bag Company as well as eleven other top supporting vendors for all their hard work, passion for selling, flexibility to help them work through their growing pains and a tenacious approach to doing what is necessary to support Albertsons. Based on that criteria, Albertsons selected their overall “best in class” vendor partners and recognized the honorees with a Vendor of the Year Award Ceremony and Luncheon in May even providing Steven with a specially-designated “Reserved Parking” space honoring him as one of Albertsons Vendors of the Year.

During her speech honoring Steven Batzofin and Earthwise Bag Company as a whole, Linda Weaver, Assistant Grocery Sales Manager – Grocery Non Foods stated in part “I am very proud to announce this outstanding vendor partner who has partnered with me this past year in growing and developing GM sales in a category that produced over $1 million dollars in sales year over year from 2008-2013. This category is Reusable Bags and this year’s vendor partner is Steven Batzofin with Earthwise Bag Company!”

Steven has worked with Albertsons and “has been an incredible vendor partner for the past 9 years”, according to Miss Weaver. In September 2005, Earthwise worked with the Albertsons GM buyer on a new reusable bag program featuring the Albertsons logo and Steven introduced the very first $0.99 reusable bag in the United States. The bag was launched in 25 Albertsons stores and Earthwise supplied one rack plus 1,000 bags per store for a 90-day test. As Linda so eloquently reminisced about the 2005 launch in her speech, “Within a couple of weeks, we were able to re-order and begin to add distribution in more stores. The reusable bag phenomena had instant attention and recognition…”

Earthwise has maintained the Albertsons business the past 9 years by providing excellent customer service, competitive prices and innovative products and merchandising. “Today Earthwise provides all of our stores high quality, eye catching designer reusable bags, seasonal bags, and the ever popular hyper local reusable bags custom fit to specific cites”, said Linda Weaver.

In the past few months, Earthwise has also gained distribution in Albertsons’ Northwest, Intermountain, and Southwest Divisions giving Earthwise presence in most Albertsons LLC’s Divisions.

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Earthwise has been a longtime supporter of the Los Angeles River and has participated in many River Clean-Ups, this year being no exception.

Our partnership with the Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR) helped to remove over 4,500 lbs of trash at the River School Day in 2009 alone. Earthwise Bag Company partnered with DuPont™ and Albertsons to kick off the 2010 Great River Cleanup with hundreds of school children in attendance. We designed a fun Tyvek® bag which was sold at local Albertsons stores with all proceeds going to FoLAR. In addition, FedEx, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation co-sponsored the clean-up and Warner Bros. was well represented with a great group of volunteers. It is a wonderful example of how businesses and residents can come together and make a real difference in our communities.

One look at the L.A. River during a storm reminds us of the massive amount of trash that ends up in the river. Soda cans, Styrofoam packaging, candy wrappers, single use plastic bags and even shopping carts can be regular sights at the riverbed. Although these are small things in and of itself, it adds up to the number one source of pollution in Southern California.

For a quarter of a century, thousands of volunteers organized by the Friends of the Los Angeles River have helped clean up the terrible mess. This year, in celebration of this milestone, FoLAR kicked off their three Saturdays of clean-ups in thirteen sites, all along the 51-mile river, last Saturday 4/26. Earthwise President, Stan Joffe, participated in the clean up and Earthwise donated 3,000 reusable bags again this year for the River Clean-Up events.

“At FoLAR, we have a handful of staff. It’s beautiful to see thousands of people mobilized at the sites, but we really wanted a way to connect and converse with them even more”, explained Shelly Backlar, Director of Education Programs at FoLAR. By spreading the clean-up over three Saturdays, FoLAR is able to nuture better connections with its volunteers. And, because the events are spread out over three Saturdays, more FoLAR stafff is available at each site.

River Clean-Up Events:  

Saturday, April 26: Valley sites
Saturday, May 3: Glendale Narrows sites
Saturday, May 10: Lower River sites

9AM to noon each day

Earthwise and FoLAR Pictures of the River Clean-Up on 4/26 –

Stan Joffe, President of Earthwise, Christian Kasperkovitz and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti

Thanks to LA Mayor Eric Garcetti for Pulling Trash out of LA River

 

Stan Joffe and Lewis MacAdams, Co-Founder & Current President of FoLAR

 

 

Volunteers from Parsons Brinckerhoff Pull Out Trash From LARiver on Saturday

Big thanks to crew from LA Conservation Corps for hustling all day long on Saturday to move supplies and trash at LA River CleanUp

 

Thanks to Earthwise for donating FoLAR Bags - Stan Joffe and FoLAR-Design Artist Christian Kasperkovitz Display Donated Bag

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Earthwise partners with organizations around the country under the belief that everyone has a responsibility to make a positive difference in the world. We are actively involved with a variety of environmental, health, and human interest groups to contribute to the overall well-being of the planet and each other. Upon its founding, our company’s initial motivation was to help mitigate the effects that plastic bags have on our environment and we have furthered that goal to include helping our community.

This past weekend we participated in two events with two organizations we have supported for several years.  One was with the Children’s Cancer Research Fund for their annual Kids 4 Kids RUN/WALK..  Earthwise has provided over 2,000 custom reusable bags each year for this Race and in support of this incredibly worthy cause.

Two Young Participants Pose with Their Earthwise Goody Bags

Children’s Cancer Research Fund (CCRF) Founder/President Matti Contopulos believes that kids possess a uniquely powerful spirit of hope and an untarnished belief that their wildest dreams can be accomplished, whether it’s becoming President of the United States, or finding a cure for cancer. She also believes that there’s a kid in all of us and created the annual Kids 4 Kids RUN/WALK.

Earthwise Goody Bags Handed Out at End of Race

The concept for Kids 4 Kids RUN/WALK evolved from important changes Matti has seen over the years in children’s awareness of cancer and the incredible generosity from kids of all ages wanting to help kids with cancer. “Countless times we’ve experienced amazing examples of hope and determination in children whether they were patients battling cancer or determined children who emptied their own piggy banks to make a donation to our organization,” said Matti. This is a spectacular Event as kids of ALL ages from throughout Southern California participate in a truly fun Event with a very special mission: to create a HAPPIER and HEALTHIER future for all children. With the monies raised, HAPPIER will be supplies for the arts and crafts programs at Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Camps, and HEALTHIER will be the funding of new grants in clinical research in pediatric oncology. There is no RUN/WALK like this in the country and we feel it has become a national campaign with an incredible impact on pediatric cancer, having raised over $1.6 million in the first six years. For the doctors tackling research, for the children and families dealing with cancer, and for our Most Valuable Players (EVERYONE WHO WALKS OR RUNS) who are participating…the event always promises to be an incredible occasion for all. The 2014 Kids 4 Kids RUN/WALK was no exception.

A handful of Earthwise employees, including Stan Joffe, President of Earthwise, participated in this year’s event to support Children’s Cancer Research, as we usually do.  It was a challenging event with much reward and sense of accomplishment for all who participated.  All of us here at Earthwise Bag Company are proud to sponsor and participate in such an amazing event and will continue to do so year after year.

EW Employee Lourdes Munoz w/Friends & Family

Earthwise Employees Mauricio & Maria with Their Son

Stan Joffe, President of Earthwise, with Earthwise Employee Mauricio

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Reprinted from TreeHugger 4/22/2014 http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-product-design/plastic-bag-bans-spreading-united-states.html

 

By Janet Larsen and Savina Venkova

Los Angeles rang in the 2014 New Year with a ban on the distribution of plastic bags at the checkout counter of big retailers, making it the largest of the 132 cities and counties around the United States with anti-plastic bag legislation. And a movement that gained momentum in California is going national. More than 20 million Americans live in communities with plastic bag bans or fees. Currently 100 billion plastic bags pass through the hands of U.S. consumers every year—almost one bag per person each day. Laid end-to-end, they could circle the equator 1,330 times. But this number will soon fall as more communities, including large cities like New York and Chicago, look for ways to reduce the plastic litter that blights landscapes and clogs up sewers and streams.

While now ubiquitous, the plastic bag has a relatively short history. Invented in Sweden in 1962, the single-use plastic shopping bag was first popularized by Mobil Oil in the 1970s in an attempt to increase its market for polyethylene, a fossil-fuel-derived compound. Many American customers disliked the plastic bag when it was introduced in 1976, disgusted by the checkout clerks having to lick their fingers when pulling the bags from the rack and infuriated when a bag full of groceries would break or spill over. But retailers continued to push for plastic because it was cheaper and took up less space than paper, and now a generation of people can hardly conceive of shopping without being offered a plastic bag at the checkout counter.

The popularity of plastic grocery bags stems from their light weight and their perceived low cost, but it is these very qualities that make them unpleasant, difficult, and expensive to manage. Over one third of all plastic production is for packaging, designed for short-term use. Plastic bags are made from natural gas or petroleum that formed over millions of years, yet they are often used for mere minutes before being discarded to make their way to a dump or incinerator—if they don’t blow away and end up as litter first. The amount of energy required to make 12 plastic bags could drive a car for a mile.

In landfills and waterways, plastic is persistent, lasting for hundreds of years, breaking into smaller pieces and leaching out chemical components as it ages, but never fully disappearing. Animals that confuse plastic bags with food can end up entangled, injured, or dead. Recent studies have shown that plastic from discarded bags actually soaks up additional pollutants like pesticides and industrial waste that are in the ocean and delivers them in large doses to sea life. The harmful substances then can move up the food chain to the food people eat. Plastics and the various additives that they contain have been tied to a number of human health concerns, including disruption of the endocrine and reproductive systems, infertility, and a possible link to some cancers.

copyright - Earth Policy Institute

California—with its long coastline and abundant beaches where plastic trash is all too common—has been the epicenter of the U.S. movement against plastic bags. San Francisco was the first American city to regulate their use, starting with a ban on non-compostable plastic bags from large supermarkets and chain pharmacies in 2007. As part of its overall strategy to reach “zero waste” by 2020 (the city now diverts 80 percent of its trash to recyclers or composters instead of landfills), it extended the plastic bag ban to other stores and restaurants in 2012 and 2013. Recipients of recycled paper or compostable bags are charged at least 10ȼ, but—as is common in cities with plastic bag bans—bags for produce or other bulk items are still allowed at no cost. San Francisco also is one of a number of Californian cities banning the use of polystyrene (commonly referred to as Styrofoam) food containers, and it has gone a step further against disposable plastic packaging by banning sales of water in plastic bottles in city property.

All told, plastic bag bans cover one-third of California’s population. Plastic bag purchases by retailers have reportedly fallen from 107 million pounds in 2008 to 62 million pounds in 2012, and bag producers and plastics manufacturers have taken note. Most of the ordinances have faced lawsuits from plastics industry groups like the American Chemistry Council (ACC). Even though the laws have largely held up in the courts, the threat of legal action has deterred additional communities from taking action and delayed the process for others.

Ironically, were it not for the intervention of the plastics industry in the first place, California would likely have far fewer outright plastic bag bans. Instead, more communities might have opted for charging a fee per bag, but this option was prohibited as part of industry-supported state-wide legislation in 2006 requiring Californian grocery stores to institute plastic bag recycling programs. Since a first attempt in 2010, California has come close to introducing a statewide ban on plastic bags, but well-funded industry lobbyists have gotten in the way. A new bill will likely go up for a vote in 2014 with the support of the California Grocers Association as well as state senators who had opposed an earlier iteration.

Seattle’s story is similar. In 2008 the city council passed legislation requiring groceries, convenience stores, and pharmacies to charge 20ȼ for each one-time-use bag handed out at the cash register. A $1.4 million campaign headed by the ACC stopped the measure via a ballot initiative before it went into effect, and voters rejected the ordinance in August 2009. But the city did not give up. In 2012 it banned plastic bags and added a 5ȼ fee for paper bags. Attempts to gather signatures to repeal this have been unsuccessful. Eleven other Washington jurisdictions have also banned plastic bags, including the state capital, Olympia. (See database of U.S. plastic bag initiatives and a timeline history.)

copyright - Earth Policy Institute

A number of state governments have entertained proposals for anti-plastic bag legislation, but not one has successfully applied a statewide charge or banned the bags. Hawaii has a virtual state prohibition, as its four populated counties have gotten rid of plastic bags at grocery checkouts, with the last one beginning enforcement in July 2015. Florida, another state renowned for its beaches, legally preempts cities from enacting anti-bag legislation. The latest attempt to remove this barrier was scrapped in April 2014, although state lawmakers say they will revisit the proposal later in the year.

Opposition to plastic bags has emerged in Texas, despite the state accounting for 44 percent of the U.S. plastics market and serving as the home to several important bag manufacturers, including Superbag, one of America’s largest. Eight cities and towns in the state have active plastic bag bans, and others, like San Antonio, have considered jumping on the bandwagon. Austin banned plastic bags in 2013, hoping to reduce the more than $2,300 it was spending each day to deal with plastic bag trash and litter. The smaller cities of Fort Stockton and Kermit banned plastic bags in 2011 and 2013, respectively, after ranchers complained that cattle had died from ingesting them. Plastic bags have also been known to contaminate cotton fields, getting caught up in balers and harming the quality of the final product. Plastic pollution in the Trinity River Basin, which provides water to over half of all Texans, was a compelling reason for Dallas to pass a 5ȼ fee on plastic bags that will go into effect in 2015.

Washington, D.C., was the first U.S. city to require food and alcohol retailers to charge customers 5ȼ for each plastic or paper bag. Part of the revenue from this goes to the stores to help them with the costs of implementation, and part is designated for cleanup of the Anacostia River. Most D.C. shoppers now routinely bring their own reusable bags on outings; one survey found that 80 percent of consumers were using fewer bags and that over 90 percent of businesses viewed the law positively or neutrally.

Montgomery County in Maryland followed Washington’s example and passed a 5ȼ charge for bags in 2011. A recent study that compared shoppers in this county with those in neighboring Prince George’s County, where anti-bag legislation has not gone through, found that reusable bags were seven times more popular in Montgomery County stores. When bags became a product rather than a freebie, shoppers thought about whether the product was worth the extra nickel and quickly got into the habit of bringing their own bags.

One strategy of the plastics industry—concerned about declining demand for its products—is an attempt to change public perception of plastic bags by promoting recycling. Recycling, however, is also not a good long-term solution. The vast majority of plastic bags—97 percent or more in some locales—never make it that far. Even when users have good intentions, bags blow out of outdoor collection bins at grocery stores or off of recycling trucks. The bags that reach recycling facilities are the bane of the programs: when mixed in with other recyclables they jam and damage sorting machines, which are very costly to repair. In San Jose, California, where fewer than 4 percent of plastic bags are recycled, repairs to bag-jammed equipment cost the city about $1 million a year before the plastic bag ban went into effect in 2012.

Proposed plastic bag restrictions have been shelved in a number of jurisdictions, including New York City, Philadelphia, and Chicago, in favor of bag recycling programs. New York City may, however, move ahead with a bill proposed in March 2014 to place a city-wide 10ȼ fee on single-use bags. Chicago is weighing a plastic bag ban.

In their less than 60 years of existence, plastic bags have had far-reaching effects. Enforcing legislation to limit their use challenges the throwaway consumerism that has become pervasive in a world of artificially cheap energy. As U.S. natural gas production has surged and prices have fallen, the plastics industry is looking to ramp up domestic production. Yet using this fossil fuel endowment to make something so short-lived, which can blow away at the slightest breeze and pollutes indefinitely, is illogical—particularly when there is a ready alternative: the reusable bag.

 

 

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According to researchers from Harvard Business School (HBS), environmentally friendly reusable bags have a surprising influence on what products shopper buy.

Shoppers bringing reusable bags are more likely not only to load up on organic and “green” goods than those who use the free paper or plastic bags provided by the store, but also are more likely to spend more on indulgent, not-so-healthy foods such as ice cream, cookies, and chips, according to Uma R. Karmarkar, assistant professor of business administration at HBS, and Bryan Bollinger, assistant professor of marketing at New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business, who co-authored the HBS working paper.

Encouraging shoppers to consciously consider buying environmentally responsible and organic products, the study suggests that reusable bags encourage this but also trigger what is called a “licensing effect”.  This “licensing effect” is when people reward themselves for having taken a positive or noble action. The researchers were surprised to find that the influential effects linked to reusable bags were not casual, but seemed to work in tandem, leading shoppers in apparently opposite directions all at the same time.

“We thought it was possible…that bringing your own bag might encourage you to buy more organic or environmentally friendly items. I think the interesting part is that, in addition, you are also doing something that seems on the surface of it to be inconsistent, that you’re sort of being good in one domain and allowing yourself to be a little bit bad in another,” she said.  “It seems like the bag is ground zero for both effects. Both things are happening due to some element of bringing that bag.”

The purpose of the study was to determine which psychological factors drive purchasing decisions. Participants reported how they thought bringing their own bag might affect their shopping decisions; researchers looked at how bringing reusable bags influenced shoppers’ willingness to buy organic and indulgent treats when presented with both options at the same time; and finally, researchers examined how price might affect these purchases.

“The thing we can’t be sure of is whether they’re actually buying more organic items or whether they’re choosing the organic options [for products] that they might have considered. What the experiments do show is that they’re willing to pay more for organic items and for indulgent ones,” said Karmarkar.

Researchers also found that when stores require reusable bags or charge for paper or plastic bags when shoppers don’t bring their own, the power of reusable bags to influence spending on treats weakens.

“If you have a store that has a policy that it only uses reusable bags, then bringing a bag isn’t you choosing to do something good, it’s you meeting the rules and expectations of the store, which means the cookie goes to the store,” said Karmarkar. “The bag no longer represents something that you did proactively that was positive.”

Source: Harvard University and HBS Working Paper 

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On Monday evening, December 2nd, the Barrington Town Council was presented with raw data of a consumer survey on the plastic bag ban. Three things were very apparent according to the survey. One, reusable bags have an edge over paper as reusable bags seem to be the bag of choice in place of plastic grocery bags. In addition, most people in Barrington favor the two-year ban that started in January on grocery check-out bags.  And, lastly, most people in Barrington are shopping about the same as they did before the ban.  

These were only three of the results of a consumer survey on the plastic bag ban completed by four Roger Williams University students under the direction of political science professor Joseph Roberts, a member of the Conservation Commission, which proposed the ban.

These results were presented to the Town Council. The results will be analyzed by the Conservation Commission with a report on the overall results expected to be presented to the Town Council at their February 2014 meeting.

Out of the 450 surveys started, students said that 358 of the lengthy surveys were completed and reusable bags were always selected or selected most of the time by 211 respondents to replace plastic grocery bags. Paper bags were selected always or most of the time by only 151 people.

In addition, 59% of the people shop about the same as they did in Barrington before the ban was imposed and another 12% shop significantly more or somewhat more, according to the survey. 28% of people shop somewhat less or significantly less than before the ban.

Some of the other results include:

  • 64% do not favor a fee on paper checkout bags
  • 50% favor a statewide ban on plastic bags; 41% do not favor such a ban
  • Most shoppers always or most of the time used plastic or reusable bags before the ban; paper bags were chosen the least
  • 54% of people do not bring their own bags when shopping for groceries; 46% do bring their own bags
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Reprinted from the Los Angeles Times – By The Times editorial board

November 27, 2013

As it does each year, a bill to ban plastic bags in California will almost certainly come before the Legislature in the next session. Each year, under heavy lobbying by the makers of such bags – who will say the bill will kill jobs and wreak other forms of havoc – the Legislature has folded. State Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), whose bill in the most recent session failed by a narrow margin, has indicated that he plans to try again.

California has a chance to do things differently this time, without the endless back and forth about whether the bans effectively reduce the trash that finds its way into giant patches of floating plastic in the oceans, and without disputed claims that California companies will go under. Because this time, it has the opportunity to replace conjecture with facts.

Close to 90 cities and counties in California have passed bans on plastic bags. Once the ban takes effect in the city of Los Angeles, at the start of the new year, such bans will cover a third of the state’s population. Usually, the bans allow customers to purchase a paper bag for 10 cents or so; Padilla’s bill would have done that as well. This means that there is now enough information to study, in robust and real-life ways, whether fewer bags are found on the beaches, an indicator of how many make their way into the ocean. Have cities and counties lost any jobs as a result of bag bans? How many?

We actually prefer fees on both plastic and paper bags. They have proved effective where they have been tried – there’s simply a mental barrier to paying a nickel for a bag – and they give consumers more convenience and choice. But a ban on plastic bags appears to be the next best choice. It has been our belief that banning the flimsy carryout bags with handles will reduce the environmental toll on the ocean without significantly harming employment. (Other plastic bags, such as those used for produce or the ones that protect newspapers from rain, would not be affected.)

But we are willing to be persuaded otherwise by conclusive data that show plastic bag bans do more harm than good. So should industry. Most important, so should lawmakers in Sacramento.

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On Friday, November 15th, a baby dolphin was rescued from the grips of a plastic bag.  After getting stuck in the plastic bag near Fort Itaipu, in Praia Grande, on the Coast of Sao Paulo, Brazil, two fishermen passing by found the mammal struggling to get rid of this foreign object.  The fishermen approached the baby dolphin a few times trying to pull it in with a net.  Unsuccessful after a couple attempts, they continued and on the third attempt were able to net the baby dolphin.

After pulling the baby dolphin in with the net, the fishermen brought him into the boat. They noticed that he was really wrapped up in the plastic bag and wanted to help immediately. They quickly removed the plastic bag from the baby dolphin and released him back into the water. Amazingly, upon being returned to the sea, the baby dolphin quickly jumped out of the water, happily dancing, as in a gesture of thanks to the fishermen.

See video here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67AT7dpCgmA#t=8

This video is so heartwarming and really shows how prevalent plastic debris is in our oceans and how it is affecting marine life all over the world.  Thank goodness for these wonderful fishermen – they saved this baby dolphin!

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According to ShopRite Partners in Caring, in collaboration with General Mills, their second annual “Designed to Fight Hunger” contest has begun. To support its hunger-fighting, year-round initiative, ShopRite has challenged up-and-coming artists to create original designs that would be suitable to be featured on a reusable shopping bag. The grand prize winner of this contest will not only receive $2,500 as well as a matching $2,500 donation to his or her local food bank, but the unique design will be available on reusable bags in all 250 ShopRite locations. The judge’s panel will include last year’s contest winner, Katrice Sylvester of Williamstown, NJ. Her design is available on reusable bags throughout ShopRite supermarkets in 6 states.

Designs for this year’s contest can be entered at BagDesignContest.com. Entries must be submitted by December 31, 2013.

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