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Happy Earth Day from Target! Reusable bags

target_recycled_bag.top.jpg By Jessica Dickler, staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- On Sunday, Target will give away 1 million reusable bags in celebration of Earth Day.

The 100% recyclable Tyvek totes will be in Target stores nationwide while supplies last, which is not expected to be very long.

"We anticipate that we'll probably go through them on Sunday," noted Jenna Reck, a spokeswoman for Target.

In keeping with a two-year-old policy, shoppers will get a five-cent discount when they use the bag -- or any reusable bag -- at checkout.

The retailer estimates that the initiative has cut the use of plastic bags in stores drastically and saved consumers nearly $2 million so far.

"We're trying to empower our guests to be more sustainable in their lives," Reck said. "Having an incentive is helpful."

In previous years, Whole Foods has also given away reusable bags around Earth Day, which falls on April 22.

The grocery chain now sells reusable bags for 79 cents to 99 cents each and offers a refund of either five or 10 cents at checkout, depending on the store, to shoppers who bring their own bags.

Last year, customers at the six Whole Foods in New York City alone were refunded more than $380,000.

Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500) also sells reusable bags but for half as much, and is testing a smaller 25 cent reusable bag in some areas like California and Hawaii. It has no plans to offer a bag refund at checkout.

But even without a refund, the use of reusable bags has become increasingly popular.

Target also said that since the company put recycling stations at each store a year ago, it has collected 170 million plastic bags that were remade into other products like composite decking. To top of page

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