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Family Programs >> Family Programs News >> Commissary News >> DeCA News Archive >> DeCA’s Got Recycling in the Bag Email this... Email    Print this Print

DeCA’s Got Recycling in the Bag

Reusable cloth bags are fast replacing “paper or plastic” as the choice for commissary customers. The reusable bags, which cost 70 cents each, were introduced into commissaries in October and since then customers have purchased nearly 270,000at stores worldwide.

While commissary shoppers have long saved green of the legal tender variety – to the tune of 30 percent or more annually on their grocery bills – they can now conserve green of another very useful kind – trees.

“Commissaries have long been good stewards of taxpayer funds,” said Rick Page, DeCA’s acting director, “and with reusable shopping bags, we’re applying the same sort of thrifty approach to how we use the earth’s natural resources.”

DeCA’s reusable bag is made of sturdy mesh, sewn together from 100 percent polypropylene. They are strong enough to hold 30 pounds of groceries and approximately three-quarters of the bulk amount of a paper bag. The reusable bags are machine washable and can be recycled when no longer usable. Customers can find these bags on racks near the checkout at their local commissary.

Reusing bags saves the commissary money, which helps preserve the benefit by keeping operating costs down – costs that are paid with taxpayer dollars. In fiscal 2007, commissaries spent a total of $20,635,800 on plastic and paper bags combined. If just one-tenth of all commissary shoppers switched to reusable cloth bags, the agency would save more than $2 million annually.

Customers always have the option of using their own reusable cloth bags. In addition, all commissaries allow customers to bring clean, sturdy paper or plastic bags to the commissary for reuse in bagging their groceries; however, all recycled bags must be clean and in good repair or the bagger cannot accept them. Whether you provide your own bags or return to your commissary with your DeCA cloth bags, just present them to the bagger immediately before bagging begins.

Product availability and program guidelines may differ at overseas commissaries. For more information about your commissary benefit, visit DeCA’s Web site at