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The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has had an impact on many things-- including increasing our use of plastic shopping bags. And Target is trying to do something about it.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to change many things about the way we live our lives, hasn't it? It's hard to imagine how simple things seemed only 5 months ago, but yet here we are.

One of the aspects the virus has had on society is the increasing use of plastic shopping bags. Many stores had been moving away from them, urging shoppers to instead bring our own reusable bags. Heck, some communities (like Minneapolis) even started forcing stores to charge customers 5 cents for each plastic bag they used.

However, due to concerns over infection, many stores banned those reusable bags as the pandemic broke out back in March, and the result was a big increase in those single-use plastic bags. This Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal story says an estimated 100 billion are made in the U.S. alone each year, and just a fraction of those are recycled, leading to concerns about what all those bags are doing to our climate and environment.

Which is where Minnesota's own Target is stepping up. They've teamed up with Walmart and other national retailers to try to find a replacement for those ubiquitous plastic bags, the story said, noting that Target said Tuesday "it's become a founding partner in the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag," and are kicking in a cool $15 million to the cause.

"'We’ll be looking for solutions that still deliver the convenience consumers love, but with much less impact on the environment,'" the story says Target noted Tuesday in a company newsletter. And, the group is looking for your ideas, too. You can get more information (and submit your suggestions) on the Beyond The Bag website.

It's probably an unpopular opinion, but I actually still LIKE those plastic bags-- mainly because they work great in cleaning up after our pets. (They make GREAT poop bags!) But, if there's an alternative that's just as handy but better for the environment, I'll gladly use it. How about you?

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