FORT LEE, Va. (Army News Service, Dec. 21, 2006) - Commissaries are hoping shoppers in the U.S. will say yes to paper bags for bagging their groceries as part of the Defense Commissary Agency's measures to offset major cost increases of plastic and paper bags.

Changing bagging preferences is something most customers have been glad to do when they've been made aware of the cost issues during previous bagging campaigns. Commissaries tally nearly 100 million customer transactions annually and spent about $20 million on bags in 2005.

Paper bag costs have increased 34 percent in the past three years, while plastic bag costs have risen 84 percent. Shipping costs offset the difference for overseas commissaries, so the paper bag emphasis isn't applied there, although double bagging is discouraged DeCA-wide.

Our customers have a really big role in this latest effort as we try to control costs while continuing to provide a premier commissary benefit," said Scott Simpson, DeCA's chief operating officer. "They've responded well during previous 'Say no to plastic bags and no to double bagging' campaigns so this is more of a reminder to continue using paper bags and a call for more customers to join in."

Commissaries in the United States are trying to reach usage goals of about 70 percent paper and 30 percent plastic.

Customers can help keep commissary prices low by using paper bags or by using their own plastic, mesh or canvas tote bags.