Pack Your Bags!

toteLos Angeles instituted a ban on single-use plastic bags in January and New York City Council recently proposed a bill that would impose a 10-cent fee on all plastic and paper grocery bags.  In addition to the two largest US cities who have taken a stand against disposable plastic bags, several cities throughout America in states like Texas, Colorado, Washington and Hawaii, to name a few, have all imposed bans or nominal bag fees on retail plastic and/or paper bags.  In view of the facts around the disposal of plastic bags – namely, they are not biodegradable; the littered bags are a threat to sea life and animals; and over time they release toxic chemicals into the soil – the number of cities adopting these bans is likely to increase.  So if your company has not yet jumped on the opportunity to attach your brand to a fairly inexpensive item that will likely be used all over town, the time has never been better to consider the many reusable bag options for your next marketing campaign.

It’s not a new concept for companies to distribute reusable tote bags with the company logo to recipients at community events, trade shows, recruiting functions and student career fairs.  Large retail grocery store chains like Whole Foods and Trader Joes sell their branded bags for less than $1.00, and have enjoyed growing brand awareness as those bags are used many times over for lots of reasons besides grocery shopping.  But what marketing teams may not be aware of is the vast number of choices that are now available in this bag category.  The options vary from the simple one-color, non-woven grocery tote that started appearing on the scene in the 1990’s to the laminated, insulated versions with pockets, zippers and different handle lengths.  These bags are designed to be used as lunch bags, grocery totes, soft side coolers, bottle totes, garment bags and backpacks.  They are targeted at parents shopping for groceries, the college kids hanging on campus, and virtually anyone with a need to carry something in a lightweight, yet durable, reusable bag.  Price points vary, but start as low as $1.00 and don’t run much more than about $3.00 or $4.00 for the bag options with all the extra features.

According to Nick Sterling, research director at Natural Capitalism Solutions, “If used once per week, four or five reusable bags will replace 520 plastic bags a year”.  With the growing movement to take positive steps towards helping the environment, why not include branded reusable bags in your marketing strategies and enjoy the benefit of spreading your branding message by turning your customers into a mobile marketing force of useful, sustainable items.

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