53 posts categorized "Reusable Bags"

March 30, 2011

Some Grocers Abandon Rebates for Reusable Bags

USA Today 3.25.11

20110316__USGroceryPushingReusables~1_VIEWER Grocery store chains including Kroger and Safeway are beginning to move away from the pennies-per-bag rebates they once supplied, saying they don't do enough to prevent customers from forgetting reusables in their cars or at home. In order to avoid plastic-bag bans and taxes, which could potentially cost supermarkets or their customers more money, many chains opted for rebates (credits), but they didn't produce the results owners hoped for.

Company officials said customer feedback indicates most want to use reusable bags, but it’s a matter of making it a habit. Kroger is utilizing plastic bag recycling containers and sprinkling parking lots with signs asking, "Are your reusable bags still in the car?" Kroger also holds bag design contests and giveaways and sends shoppers coupons for reusable bags.

Read about our stance on the downsides of cheap reusables here.

To read the full article, click here.

Image: USA Today

Plastic: Too Good to Throw Away

New York Times 3.23.11

18opedimg-popup Persistently avoiding plastic may seem key to combating over-consumption and the production of plastic-based materials, but, in reality, the issue is far more complex. In a recent Op-Ed piece, Susan Freinkel, a New York Times contributor and author of the forthcoming book Plastic: A Toxic Love Story, dispels the common misconception that suggests shunning plastic and settling for bag bans and fees will drastically alter the ethos of our culture.

Instead, Freinkel advocates for shifting the public perception of plastic as cheap and worthless to durable and profitable by eliminating its presence in disposables.

 Check out our "I'm not a . . ." or "Thank you" series, which offer affordable, sustainable alternatives to use-and-toss disposables like plastic bottles and bags.

To read the full article, click here.

Image: www.nytimes.com

March 22, 2011

Bangalore: Plastic Bag Ban Remains Ineffective

Expressbuzz.com 3.17.11

2011031763900301 Bangalore, a city in south central India, recently implemented a ban on plastic bags of less than 40 microns that seems to have little effect on Bangaloreans. According to the notification from Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), March 15 was the deadline for banning such bags; but city folks were seen carrying bags of even less than 20 microns despite the ordinance. 

“Since a 40-50 micron bag costs more than a 20 micron-thick plastic bag, demand is always higher for the latter from medicine shops and small retailers,” according to a small scale plastic manufacturing unit owner as reported by Sohini Das

The previous provision focused on a thickness limit of 20 microns, but now the recent Plastic Handling Rules of 2011 mandates that manufacturers do not produce plastic below 40 microns in thickness. Without proper enforcement and continual awareness, shop-owners and consumers remain resistant to the newly modified ban.

Check out the full article here

Check out our stance on fees vs. bans here.

Image: Hindu.com

March 15, 2011

Plastic bag manufacturers sue Marin County over plastic bag ban

Plasticbaglaws.org 2.26.11

S-PLASTIC-BAG-BAN-REJECTED-large Following California's attempts to implement a statewide legislation to reduce consumption and distribution of plastic bags, Marin County and others continue to battle over effective methods of local regulation. Meanwhile, opposition groups like the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition pose a challenge.

Save the Plastic Bag Coalition (a plastics industry front group) filed suit against Marin County Feb. 24 over the plastic bag ordinance that the county's Board of Supervisors adopted in January, according to Plasticbaglaws.org. However, Marin County isn't the only one being targeted. The STPB has threatened and/or sued every California city that adopted a plastic bag ordinance after statewide legislation failed, leaving counties to consider their own bag fees and bans.

To read the full article, click here

Check out our stance on fees vs. bans here.

November 16, 2010

Cheap Chain Store Reusable Bags Contain Lead

11.16.2010 Tampa Bay Online

Illustrating in no uncertain terms the dangers of cheap, low-quality reusables, recent studies have found that the inks illustrating reusable bags sold at some chain stores contain alarming levels of lead. Stores involved include Winn-Dixie and Publix.

Read about our stance on the dangers of cheap reusables here.

Check out the complete New York Times piece here.

Update: And for those interested, here is the original article that broke the story.

October 19, 2010

Washington DC Bag Fee Update

CNNmoney.com 10.5.10

Ten months after it was imposed, the fee on disposable bags in Washington, DC still makes sense, although it's not bringing quite the revenue boost that the district was hoping for.


Before the tax went into effect, the district's Chief Financial Officer was projecting income of $3.6 million dollars. But so far income has only amounted to $1.3 million.


This is reason to celebrate; it means the fee works. Because people are required to pay for bags upfront, people are using half as many plastic bags as before.


Under the tax, district residents are charged 5 cents for each disposable bag they got at the store. One penny goes to the shop while the other four cents go to the city. The four cents going to the city go toward cleaning up polluted rivers. Those in charge of cleaning up those rivers claim that they have already noticed a reduction in bag pollution.


Read the complete article at CNN Money.

September 21, 2010

American Samoa Bans the Bag

USA Today 9.2.10

U.S. territory American Samoa has signed a law banning stores from handing out plastic shopping bags.

The law will take effect Feb. 23, and excludes biodegradable shopping bags and compostable plastic bags.

This ban was signed only a few days after California rejected a very similar law, although a growing number of California cities have taken steps to ban bags at a local level. Some of these cities include San Francisco, Palo Alto, Malibu, and others.

Read the full article here.

Our Take: We like their commitment to reducing consumption, however it's fees - not bans - that are the best way to go. Ireland's PlasTax reduced plastic bag consumption by 90% in its first year alone.

May 27, 2009

A new health threat: Eco-friendly bags

Chicago Tribune 5.27.09

Your eco-friendly shopping bag could be making you sick, a study says. But before you switch back to plastic, you might want to consider the source.

An overly alarming 15-page paper, published on the Web site for Canada's Environment and Plastics Industry Council, concluded that reusable grocery bags are "a breeding ground for bacteria and pose a public health risk" because of high counts of yeast, molds and bacteria. Download the study here.

Our Take:
  What a joke! The plastics industry just won't stop twisting science and sounding false-alarms to justify our plastic addiction. A great level-headed article from the Tribune that turns a critical eye towards this campaign of misinformation, which many journalists simply regurgitate (one of the inflammatory articles we saw on this industry-funded study was titled "Reusable Grocery Bags May Poison You" - no joke).
Common sense practices like washing your reusable bag and using plastic when worried about leakage can reduce contaminants. When you're choosing a reusable shopping bag, avoid the cheap ones and steer towards high quality, durable bags that withstand washing. In countries like Australia and Ireland, reusable bags have once again become a part of daily life and they haven't experienced any of these health concerns.

Link: A new health threat: Eco-friendly bags

April 30, 2009

Go Green, Save Money

IMG_5649-1 - resized The Oprah Winfrey Show 4.22.09

Our plastic bag counter was featured on Oprah’s Earth Day Show, “Go Green Save Money,” as a reminder of the thousands of plastic bags consumed every second around the world.

We were also listed in the “Going Green Resources” page at Oprah.com – for our hand-picked selection of 700+ reusables. Many were featured in the Earth Day Lunch Challenge, which shows Oprah encouraging people to switch from disposable lunch options to reusable ones. 

See the Green Resources Directory here and our Plastic Bag Counter here.

February 19, 2009

Recycled Clothing - Converting recycled plastic into fabric

Business Week 2.17.09 Businessweek

Imagine your six-pack covering your six-pack. Plastic soda and water bottles are being turned into sweaters. We explore the process of converting plastic into fabric and its growing use.

Our Take:  A great video showing how post-consumer plastic bottles and containers are converted into durable, wearable fabrics. We love this innovation – our rPET bags have been repurposing old plastic bottles for years, at some of the same fabric mills used by Patagonia. Stay tuned for more textile innovations – the most sustainable production process for reusable bags.

Link: Recycled Clothing – converting recycled plastic into fabric

November 14, 2008

AUDIO CLIP: Dirty plastic bags

npr,  11.14.08Npr

Our founder, Vincent Cobb, joins Ashkay Rao, program director and professor at University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, to discuss why not all reusable bags are created equal.

“[The 99-cent reusable shopping bag phenomenon] has become a marketing gimmick du jour, big time. It’s an advertisement for the retailer, so they’re very incented to get them out there. If they just sit and accumulate in a closet and you go back to taking plastic bags, then yeah, you have done a net negative.”

Listen to the interview

August 02, 2008

City council approves bag fee, foam ban

The Seattle Times, 07.29.08Seattletimes_bag_fee_approved_2 

On Monday, the City Council [of Seattle] approved a 20-cent fee, starting in January, for each disposable paper or plastic bag used at grocery, drug and convenience stores. While other U.S. cities have banned plastic bags, Seattle is believed to be the first to discourage use by charging a fee. Although the new fee may force Seattle residents to permanently alter their shopping habits, council members said the environmentally correct behavior will become natural, just like recycling.

The city plans to give at least one free, reusable bag to each household, and the council directed Seattle Public Utilities to come up with a plan by the end of November on how to provide extra bags to low-income residents.

Our Take: This is major news. Seattle is the first U.S. city to follow Ireland's lead in implementing a successful plastic bag fee model. We are confident that Seattle residents will alter their shopping habits quickly - reusable shopping bags will become an integrated part of life in the Emerald City and plastic bag overconsumption will disappear. Seattle City Councilmember, Tim Burgess said it best - "I think that after a few months of legislation, we will wonder what all the fuss is about."

Watch for the plastic bag industry to violently attack this fee based model since it represents the beginning of a paradigm shift.

Link: City council approves bag fee, foam ban

July 24, 2008

VIDEO CLIP: The Dangers of Plastic Bags

ReusableBags.com 07.23.08

Late last week, a fantastic slide show making its way around the internet caught our eye. Using a potent combination of facts and images, it tells the story of plastic bag over-consumption we first laid out at our web site five years ago. Its short, visual format provides an incredible tool to educate and inform.                    

We liked the slide show so much, we hustled to:

  1. Convert and post it as an easy-to-view video on YouTube, opening it up to millions worldwide.
  2. Discover who produced it and give them credit. It turns out to be a fellow Chicagoan! Vishal Mody - a public school teacher.
  3. Share it with you, our 80,000+ newsletter subscribers, and post it in our Newsroom.

Please take just 4 minutes to watch it and help spread the word!

July 23, 2008

L.A. City Council votes for ban on plastic shopping bags

Latimes_3 Los Angeles Times, 07.23.08

The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to ban plastic carryout bags in the city's supermarkets and stores by July 2010 -- but only if the state fails to impose a 25-cent fee on every shopper who requests them.

Council members said they hope an impending ban would spur consumers to begin carrying canvas or other reusable bags, reducing the amount of plastic that washes into the city's storm drains and the ocean.

"This is a major moment for our city, to bite the bullet and go with something that is more ecologically sensitive than what we've ever done before," said Councilman Bill Rosendahl...

Our Take:  Bravo, California! Los Angeles joins the ranks of San Francisco in reducing plastic bag consumption.  However, the biggest news is not the ban, but that Los Angeles is the first major U.S. city to vote to implement a plastic bag tax, by charging $.25 for “use-and-toss” bags, should the legislature not pass a statewide ban. A similar Plastax in Ireland reduced plastic bag consumption by 90%, and we are really excited to see the first U.S. effort to do the same. Even more importantly, Los Angeles also takes aim at paper bags, sending the message that over consumption of any kind is wasteful.

Los Angeles alone will put a dent in plastic bag consumption by reducing the 2.3 billion plastic bags it uses each year. We hope the city proves to be a model for many more across the nation.

Link: L.A. City Council votes for ban on plastic shopping bags

July 18, 2008

Trendy grocery totes tout eco-chic style

The Seattle Times, 07.03.08   Trendy_grocery_totes_seattle_times

"There's an enormous amount of trendiness around the reusable-shopping-bag phenomenon," said Vincent Cobb, CEO and founder of www.reusablebags.com, a Web site dedicated to reducing overconsumption of plastic shopping bags. "It's one of those easy feel-good things. It's like, 'I can't do those big things like buy a hybrid car, but I can do these sorts of little green things.' "

Link: Trendy grocery totes tout eco-chic style 

July 17, 2008

Green with envy

Willamette Week, 04.16.08   Vcrollbacktree_willamette_week

Portlanders drive an average of three fewer miles a day than the average American Joe. We have more certified green buildings per capita than any other U.S. city. Time to kick back with an organic IPA and watch the clouds go by, right? Hardly. Wake up, Portland. We’re slipping. Sometime between Gov. Tom McCall’s speeches and Al Gore’s Nobel Prize, Portland ceded the green crown.

Link: Green with envy 

June 24, 2008

VIDEO CLIP: China bans free plastic bags

CNN, 06.01.08
China recently fulfilled its January pledge to ban free plastic bags. CNN gives us a glimpse into both the new system of charging for disposable plastic bags and the depressing effects of the culprits being free and plentiful for dozens of years.

Our Take: We hope other countries will follow China’s lead. Charging for plastic bags will help to change consumer habits over time – Ireland has the proof after their hugely successful Plastax produced a 90% drop in consumption. What do you think?

Click here to watch the video: China bans free plastic bags 

IKEA bags the plastic

The Courant, 06.12.08
Last March, IKEA began charging 5 cents for each plastic bag with the hopes of reducing usage by 50 percent. Last month, they announced that not only is the fee working, they have experienced a 92 percent drop in usage.

Our Take: Our congratulations to IKEA for being a strong leader in a sea of mindless consumption. They see that use-and-toss shopping bags—whether plastic or paper—are at the heart of the issue. This is more evidence that fees work. We are proud to have helped inspire them to take this bold step and hope that other retailers will follow suit.  What do you think?

Link: IKEA bags the plastic 

Eco-trendiness is in the bag

Daily Breeze, 06.17.08
As reusable bags continue down the path from obscure eco-crusader tool to trendy fashion accessory, the debate continues on what to do about all those plastic bags. Some say bans are the answer; others claim that recycling will solve the problem. Vincent Cobb of reusablebags.com argues that the behavior we need to change is the mindless overconsumption of use-and-toss items.

Link: Eco-trendiness is in the bag

Consumers turn to cloth and canvas bags instead of plastic

Journal and Courier, 05.25.08

Vincent Cobb, founder and president of www.reusablebags.com based in downtown Chicago, is not a fan of the newfound trendiness of reusable bags. "The heart of the problem is that people are consuming too much," he said. "The problem with the free bags or the 99 cent bag is people have a tendency to accumulate them and not use them." He advised shoppers to purchase a high-quality bag that will last.

Link: Consumers turn to cloth and canvas bags instead of plastic

May 23, 2008

Bag your plastic habit with reusable bags

Orange County Register, 04.22.08
A new bill to be introduced to the House Appropriations Committee next month might require large grocery stores to charge customers up to a quarter to take away paper or plastic bags. Last year, San Francisco's Board of Supervisors banned petroleum-based plastic bags in large markets and pharmacies.

You can easily ban paper and plastic from your own life.

Link: Bag your plastic habit with reusable bags 

Bag the plastic and get used to the reusable

Daily Herald, 04.23.08 Daily_herald_bag_the_plastic

Plastic bags have become a target of the environmental movement, and with good reason: Plastic bags aren't biodegradable. Instead, they break down into smaller and smaller toxic particles that contaminate both soil and water, and can enter the food chain when animals accidentally ingest them. And according to the EPA, we use more than 100 billion plastic shopping bags every year.

Link: Bag the plastic and get used to the reusable 

She loses it over reusable bags

Boston.com, 04.17.08 Bostonglobe_envirosax

If you're a certain type of person, it's not enough that your reusable grocery bag holds groceries. It must also establish your style. With designers getting in on the action, a Self magazine headline sums up the challenge: "Look chic at the farmers market."
Statistics on reusable-bag production are hard to come by, but when I asked Vincent Cobb, founder and president of reusablebags.com, if the solution is becoming part of the problem, he didn't hesitate a moment.
"Absolutely," he said, explaining that some are made so cheaply they fall apart after a few uses. "They are becoming more of the junk."

Link: She loses it over reusable bags 

Eco-Challenge: Is Going Bagless Possible?

MarthaStewart.com, 04.08
All-or-nothing mentalities are seductive, but often self-defeating. Not to mention silly. When I come home and realize I've left the lights on -- which of course I do every now and then -- I don't resign myself to being an electricity profligate. I let it go and move on. Perhaps a recalibration -- less superego, more compassion and ease -- would help my bag plight.

Link: Eco-Challenge: Is Going Bagless Possible? 

Responsible packing: reusable totes are replacing paper and plastic

LoHud.com, New York's Lower Hudson Valley 05.10.08Lohudlogo_5

Here are some tips from reusablebags.com on how to become a more eco-friendly shopper:
• Pledge to use your own reusable bags and persuade your friends to do the same.
• If you buy reusable bags, use them: Put a note on top of your grocery list reminding you to take the bags with you to the market.
• Persuade stores to offer credit for using your own bag.
• Realize that paper is not necessarily a better alternative. Trees must be cut down, and paper mills can pollute.
• If you belong to an environmental or community organization, lobby to have the plastic bag issue added to the agenda.

Link: Responsible packing: reusable totes are replacing paper and plastic 

Too many holes poked in plastic bag law

Chicago Sun Times 05.08.08


Mike Nowak of the Chicago Recycling Coalition referred to the latest version as “New York lite” and a “swing and a miss.” He questioned why the Best Buys and Office Depots of the world were exempt.
“This is a first step. But let us not forget that the blue bag program was a first step that failed to produce a second step,” Nowak said.

Link: Too many holes poked in plastic bag law 

Shoppers saving the planet, one reusable bag at a time

Baltimoresun.com 05.18.08

"Demand has exploded" for shopping bags that are neither plastic nor paper, agrees Vincent Cobb, founder of reusablebags.com, which was endorsed by Al Gore in his best-selling documentary An Inconvenient Truth. "We sold more this Earth Day and the day after than we did in the whole of 2003." Cobb thinks they started being mainstream and "very trendy" after last year's Earth Day, when using your own shopping bags appeared on just about every media list of top 10 things consumers can do to help the environment. "A big shift is under way."

Link: Shoppers saving the planet, one reusable bag at a time

April 10, 2008

VIDEO CLIP: Eco Moms Are Going Green

The Today Show 04.09.08

Tupperware parties are old hat: nowadays, “eco-moms” are getting together to trade tips on how to save the environment. NBC’s Janet Shamlian reports.

Link: Eco Moms Are Going Green

Colorado Making Plastic Bags Passe?

Vail Daily 04.05.08Colorado
Will “paper or plastic?” soon follow “smoking or non-smoking?” onto the list of once-ubiquitous, now-obsolete questions? Could be if others follow the lead of Durango Natural Foods, which earlier this month announced that, starting in May, it will phase out plastic bags and charge 20 cents for paper bags. Durango supermarkets trying to get customers to bring their own bags…

Link: Colorado Making Plastic Bags Passe?

Ikea To Nix All Disposable Bags by Oct. 2008

Los Angeles Times 04.03.08

As of Oct. 2008, IKEA will no longer offer disposable plastic bags at checkout. No, paper bags won't replace the plastic bags. Customers will need to bring their own bag, buy an IKEA reusable bag for 59 cents, or go bagless.

Link: Ikea To Nix All Disposable Bags by Oct. 2008

Reusable Bags Only Good If You Use Them

Sacbee.com 03.10.08

"After Earth Day 2007, the (reusable) bags turned up on everyone's list as one of the top ways to save the environment," says Vincent Cobb, founder of the Chicago-based Reusablebags.com, a line of eco-friendly products that includes grocery totes and produce bags. "They're right up there with eco-friendly water bottles and incandescent lights." And yes, using the bags is a good start, he adds, but not if you just buy them on a whim or out of guilt – and then don't use them. "It needs to become a habit," he says.

Link: Reusable Bags Only Good If You Use Them

The Pervasive Plastic Bag

Washington Post 04.07.08

We’ve all experienced frustration at the checkout counter when a bagger uses a different plastic bag for each item or even worse, double bags our groceries for “extra support”. Now that the practice of using reusable bags is catching on, it seems that the new common challenge is confusion at the checkout. Improved training on the part of stores will help, as will well-designed reusable bags that streamline the process.

Our Take: Several readers’ comments brought up the fact that the el cheapo “99 cent” reusable shopping bags have a tendency to fall apart --one of a number of problems associated with the explosion of “freebie” reusable shopping bags being produced by many retailers. Our advice is to resist accumulating cheap bags and invest in a handful of well-designed, attractive, durable ones that you will actually use for years to come.

Link: The Pervasive Plastic Bag

Lobbying, Legal Threats Turn Prohibitions Into Voluntary Recycling Drives

MSNBC 03.14.08

The movement to curb plastic bag use and production is gaining in popularity because of cities like San Francisco-  the first US city to prohibit large stores from distributing disposable plastic bags. Now the plastics industry is fighting tooth and nail to prevent the trend from spreading across the United States.  Many attempts at bans have already been prevented, usually ending up as voluntary recycling drives instead.

Our Take: While recycling has its place, recycling won’t solve the problem… An item that really stood out in this article was the shocking information that an amendment prohibiting local governments from imposing fees on plastic bags was snuck into an otherwise benign mandatory recycling law passed in California. This is a bold move we assume will be overturned at some point …

Link: Lobbying, Legal Threats Turn Prohibitions Into Voluntary Recycling Drives

March 11, 2008

ReusableBags.com on CLTV Metromix

ReusableBags.com 03.10.08

ReusableBags.com was featured as one of CLTV Metromix's "Green Pieces." Hear from Founder, Vincent Cobb, and view many of our products!

Good Morning America Now Features Reusable Bags

Good Morning America Now 03.10.08

View Good Morning America Now's segment on BYO-Bag. With a focus on how to remember your reusable shopping bags, many of the samples featured were from our store. Guest Olivia Zaleski "really recommend(s) looking at that website. They have everything for everyone."

March 05, 2008

Plastic Bags, Headed for A Meltdown

Washington Post 02.06.08

On a recent Sunday, I stood in a long line at the Dupont Circle farmers market. At the front was a young woman, juggling nearly a dozen apples as she tried to hand them to the cashier to be weighed. "Here, let me get you a bag," the cashier suggested. "No. No," the woman answered harriedly. "I brought my own!" The cashier glanced at the growing line of impatient patrons. And  the young woman turned around, too, a pained look spreading across her face. "Okay. But then take them out. I can put them in here." Pause. "Really, I really don't want one."

It was, perhaps, a sign of the times. The plastic bag, that staple of modern life, is about to become radioactive.

Link: Plastic Bags, Headed for A Meltdown

February 22, 2008

These Days, Conservation is in the Bag

Contra Costa Times 02.22.08

Judith Morton fits the profile of an eco-friendly consumer: She worries about depleting natural resources, she recycles when she can, and she has three or four canvas shopping bags sitting at home.

Despite her good intentions, Morton's reusable shopping bags rarely leave her house, meaning that she still accumulates dozens of flimsy plastic grocery bags.

While thousands of shoppers have shifted to BYOB -- bring your own bag -- in lieu of answering the old "paper or plastic" question, many consumers struggle to make the switch.

"Our biggest concern with reusable bags is that people will get them and not use them," said Vincent Cobb, founder and president of Reusablebags.com, a Chicago-based Web site that promotes and sells reusable bags. "You're not going to fix the problem overnight. We've been programmed to shop this way. What's hard is not giving up."

Link: These days, conservation is in the bag

February 08, 2008

Motivated by a Tax, Irish Spurn Plastic Bags

New York Times 02.02.08 & International Herald Tribune 01.31.08Iht_2

In 2002, Ireland passed a tax on plastic bags...Within weeks, plastic bag use dropped 94 percent. Drowning in a sea of plastic bags, countries from China to Australia, cities from San Francisco to New York have in the past year adopted a flurry of laws and regulations to address the problem, so far with mixed success.

After five years of the plastic bag tax, Ireland has changed the image of cloth bags, a feat advocates hope to achieve in the United States. Vincent Cobb, the president of reusablebags.com, who founded the company four years ago to promote the issue, said: “Using cloth bags has been seen as an extreme act of a crazed environmentalist. We want it to be seen as something a smart, progressive person would carry.”

Comment: Ireland has paved the way. What other countries, cities or states will step up, find the political will and follow suit?

Links: New York Times & International Herald Tribune

Plastic Sacked: Grocers, Shoppers Increasingly Turn To Fabric Bags

Hartford Courant 02.05.08

Whether it's about peer pressure, a deepening environmental conscience or a head start on the upscale grocery chain's campaign to ban plastic bags by Earth Day, far more customers are carrying their foodstuffs home in paper and reusable cloth sacks.

"It kind of blew me away with how quickly it took off," says Vincent Cobb, founder of Chicago-based ReusableBags.com, a cloth-bag retailer that has been advocating on the issue for the past five years.

Link: Plastic Sacked

February 01, 2008

Birmingham, Alabama area shoppers skip disposable grocery bags

The Birmingham News 01.28.08

It's impossible to count how many customers are reusing bags, but area retailers say they've seen an uptick in recent months. Plastic bags are an easy target for retailers trying to go green, since they take oil to make and fill landfills. But some experts say that the practice will stick around even after the fad wears off.

"There's a trendiness to it, but the underlying fundamentals are there," said Vincent Cobb of reusablebags.com. "There's something permanent in the society moving forward. And there will start to be a little stigma to the plastic bags." 

Link: Birmingham, Alabama area shoppers skip disposable grocery bags

Good Magazine: Totes are Hot

Good Magazine 05.07.07

Informative video about the dangers of plastic bags.

Thread Heads: Tote Bags (Video)

Metacafe.com 07.12.07

Thread Heads: Tote Bags - Click here for another funny movie.

Great video about bags made out of recycled materials - and how to make your own!

January 16, 2008

Paper or Your Reusable Bag?

NPR Marketplace 01.10.08Npr

New York City is requiring new measures to increase the recyling of plastic shopping bags. China has announced it's banning them. Such measures are making reusable bags a big business. Host Tess Vigeland talks with Vincent Cobb, president of Reusablebags.com.

Link: Paper or Your Reusable Bag?

In Line for Hindmarch's Tote

ReusableBags.com 01.17.08

Check out this YouTube video that captures the essence of the mania surrounding last summer's arrival of Anya Hindmarch's much touted "I'm not a Plastic Bag" tote bag. (Great slogan - but a lousy reusable shopping bag.) This 2 minute video tells a simple story of absurdity. The following viewer comment says it all "Wow! It's amazing what we Americans will do..."

Link: In Line for Hindmarch's Tote

Human Behavior, Global Warming, and the Ubiquitous Plastic Bag

New York Times 09.30.07

Once upon a time, the question was plastic or paper, which had its own somewhat uncertain calculus of virtue and waste. Now, it has begun to dawn on people that you don’t need either. Plastic bags are not the biggest single issue out there, and no expert on global warming would suggest solutions rest wholly with decisions made by individual consumers. On the other hand, it is estimated that the United States goes through 100 billion plastic bags a year, which take an estimated 12 million barrels of oil to produce and last almost forever. And if individual decisions can’t solve the problem, the wrong ones can certainly compound it.

Link: Human Behavior, Global Warming, and the Ubiquitous Plastic Bag

Citywide plastic-bag bans are gaining momentum. But will companies be the ones that force us to change?

Fast Company 11.2007

After the plastic water bottle, you couldn't do much better than the plastic shopping bag as a symbol of American consumerism run amok. We go through 380 billion a year. An estimated 5.2% get recycled; in landfills, they could last 1,000 years. Bags are made from oil, and our bag habit costs us 1.6 billion gallons each year. That last statistic, and its link to global warming, is starting to drive change.

See how four high-profile programs rate: Walmart, Target, Whole Foods and Ikea.

Link: Citywide plastic-bag bans are gaining momentum. But will companies be the ones that force us to change?

Business is Booming for Makers of Reusable Grocery Bags

San Francisco Chronicle 12.21.07

In the wake of San Francisco's recent ban on plastic grocery bags, other jurisdictions from Los Angeles to New Jersey are considering restrictions on the use of plastic bags. And since last summer, California law has required all large supermarkets to offer reusable bags for sale. Meanwhile, worries about climate change and marine pollution are leading more individual consumers throughout the country to answer "none of the above" when faced with the cliched choice of "Paper or plastic?" "The market has absolutely exploded," said Vincent Cobb, founder of ReusableBags.com, an online store that has sold a wide selection of grocery totes since 2002. "If you asked me two years ago, there were dozens of reusable bags. Now there are a hundred or more."

Link: Business is Booming for Makers of Reusable Grocery Bags

September 21, 2007

Catalog Critic - Green Grocer

Wall Street Journal 09.21.07

The Wall Street Journal’s Catalog Critic critiques reusable shopping bags: “we wanted lightweight, strong bags spacious enough for lots of locally grown produce and organic spelt flakes. But -- this was harder -- we also sought chic sacks with no strident slogans. To test our five candidates, we brought them to the store and loaded them with half-gallons of milk, canned goods, a baby watermelon -- the usual.”

Best Overall, the Acme Workhorse 1500, was styled like a typical plastic grocery sack. Of nearly weightless nylon, it folded into a tiny rectangle for storage.

Our Take: We are very proud to have our Acme Workhorse bag selected as "Best Overall" -- we spent over 2 yrs developing and refining this bag - as with all bags we develop, we really sweat the details! Since its introduction back in early 2003 it has been one of our most popular bags and has inspired lots of knockoffs. Look for more outstanding products and innovations from our award-winning line of Acme Bags!

Link: GreenGrocer

September 20, 2007

Carrefour Announces 600,000 Reusable Bags Sold in Six Months

CNN.com 09.04.0744846carrefourbags

Carrefour's reusable bag campaign that was launched on February 26th, 2007 in the UAE, aimed at creating awareness on the impact of plastic bags that pollute the ecosystem and encouraging shoppers to reduce their use, has registered total sales of 600,000 reusable plastic bags.

Available at checkout counters as an alternative to plastic bags, the Carrefour reusable bag are sold at cost price. "If they are damaged at any point, the bags can be replaced at any Carrefour outlet free of charge," added Jean Luc Graziato, Vice President of Marketing and Sourcing at MAF Hypermarkets (Carrefour).

Our Take: Here is an example of a growing trend among retailers - virtually giving away massive quantities of cheap reusable bags (even plastic bags in this case!) as a major tactic to address the problem. There is a host of problems associated with these kinds of "freebies". The primary one being - are consumers actually going to use these cheap shopping bags or are they going to sit and start accumulating in people's closets? (This is what happened in Australia). In essence we've merely replaced one "use and toss" bag with another!  Our advice is to own a handful of attractive, high-quality, bags that you really like and will use. Looking for suggestions? Visit our store

Link: Carrefour Announces 600,000 Reusable Bags Sold in Six Months

Shopping Responsibly

Ampolo.com 09.04.07

A very well made short video highlighting the advantages of reusable bags.