Your employees will be on the frontline to educate customers about the ordinance and implement the new rules. To help smooth the transition to reusable bags, it will be important to train your employees on the requirements of the ordinance, best practices for responding to customer questions and tips on how to pack a variety of reusable bags.
Start by reviewing with your employees the Fact Sheet for Businesses as well as the bag options you’ve chosen to provide customers. Read the quick tips below for responding to questions from customers and packing reusable bags and encourage your employees to thank customers who bring their own reusable bags.
You can also make the transition easier for both your employees and customers by posting signs that prompt customers to place their reusable bags on the conveyor belt first (or next to the register) to speed up the checkout process. Also, place copies of the Fact Sheet for Shoppers at checkout counters to help communicate the ordinance to customers and serve as reference for employees.
Responding to Questions from Customers
- Let customers know that single-use plastic bags are no longer available at checkout, and encourage them to bring reusable bags.
- Let customers know that all bags are not going away, and let them know which bag options your business is providing, if any.
- If customers ask why the City is doing this, explain that thin plastic bags are a major source of litter, take hundreds of years to degrade and harm the environment. By switching to thicker reusable bags, we can significantly reduce the amount of waste that goes into area landfills.
- Make sure customers understand that they are welcome and encouraged to bring any reusable bag with them to carry out items, even bags from other stores.
- Let your customers know if your business offers discounts or incentives if they bring their own bags.
- If available, provide customers with a Fact Sheet for Shoppers for more information about the ordinance.
- Refer customers to BringitAustin.com.
Packing Reusable Bags
Train employees on how to pack reusable bags:
- Place heavy items in the bottom of the reusable bag first because heavy items have been known to squish other grocery items. Be sure not to place too many heavy items in any one bag.
- Keep like items together. It’s best to place frozen items, produce, meat products and cleaning supplies in separate bags.
- Larger items, such as a gallon of milk, laundry detergent, cereal and other boxed items, or items with handles may not require a bag at all.
- Small purchases like gum, toothpaste, mints, etc. or purchases with only a few items may not require a bag.
- Keep the size of reusable bags in mind. A thin plastic bag may only hold a couple of two-liter bottles, while a large reusable bag may hold four bottles.
It’s also helpful to encourage customers to place their reusable bags at the front of their order, as well as to separate and unfold all bags to ease the checkout process.