Reusable Shopping Bags: Good For Business, The Environment Too

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So… how many shopping (plastic or reusable) bags have you carried already this season?
There’s no arguing that plastic shopping bags are a modern marvel. These single use bags made their appearance in the grocery store checkout lines in 1976, and in the years since have become what  Guinness World Records calls  “the most ubiquitous consumer item in the world.” It’s true, they’re everywhere.
You can see why — these bags are durable, waterproof, can hold far more than their own weight and come in lots of sizes. What’s more, plastic shopping bags provide a fantastic place to showcase a company name, logo and message. A place that’s noticed by lots of pairs of eyes as it’s carried through the mall and back home. The fact that they’re affordable doesn’t hurt either.
Retailers can hardly be blamed for wanting the best, most affordable packaging as they try to draw customers and build an image, a brand.
Unfortunately for the environment, the wildly popular single use plastic bags are nearly impossible to recycle. They’re just too thin. Less than 9% of plastic bags in the U.S. are recycled in any way, the other 91% end up as part of the vast amount of pollution littering the world’s oceans and landscapes. That’s not good.
Other nations have instituted bans on single use plastic bags, but in the U.S. it took until 2007 for the city of San Francisco to enact one. Since then, regulation of single use plastic bags has been left to the states, so rules are different everywhere. Shamefully, the plastics industry has responded to pollution concerns around these bags with little more than PR campaigns, hotly debated research and political contributions.
On the plus side, the outcry against single use plastic bags has made reusable shopping bags more available and acceptable. In fact, some have even become a fashion statement… showing just how mainstream the reusables are — they’re “in”. Using them shows you are in touch… you care about environmental issues.
More durable than thin plastic, reusable bags can be laundered once in a while, which is all you need do to reduce any dangerous organisms to below detectable levels. And there’s no real need to worry about lead either… the lead levels found in  samples studied fall within the current government allowances, and isn’t easily leached — just touching or using the bag would not be harmful.
Like plastic ones, reusable shopping bags come in all shapes, sizes and colors. They also have plenty of room for imprinting a business name, phone number, adding a logo… whatever you did with plastic you can now do in a more earth-friendly reusable way.
Reusable shopping bags with flat bottoms that can stand by themselves are popular because they’re perfect for loading and unloading. But those that fold up very small are ideal to stash in your purse, pocket or keep in the car. Cotton or canvas are the best choice of materials as these can be washed and will biodegrade when the time comes that you have to throw them away.
When you choose reusable shopping bags for your business you’re going beyond getting your business noticed. You’re making a statement about the core values of your business that matters to today’s customer.

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