Despite a growing awareness of the environmental impacts of plastic bags, more states have prohibited disposable bag restrictions than have passed them. In such communities, voluntary actions that shift bag habits from disposable to reusable remain promising. Yet research on reusable bags, and the social geographies of waste reduction, more broadly, lags behind that of other aspects of waste management. This study addresses that gap by examining the reusable bag habits and motivations of residents of Athens, Ohio. It accomplishes this through a survey of Athens residents, complemented by observations at local grocery retailers. Results suggest that most residents own reusable bags and intend to use them because they are aware of the environmental impacts of single-use bags. Three factors are associated with respondents’ stated reusable bag use frequency: their gender, their environmental views, and their preferred grocery store. Results also show that incentive-based strategies may be most palatable.

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