With the growing movement to ban plastic shopping bags, there’s an opportunity for smart businesses to build their brand presence while simultaneously doing their part to help the environment.

The Movement to Ban Plastic Bags

Plastic bags for groceries or other purchases may be convenient, but they’ve long been known as less than ideal for our environment. Because they’re so lightweight, these bags can travel with the wind and end up in places they shouldn’t be—from cluttering streets and property to wrapping around fences and tree branches or, worst of all, making their way into our water systems. When plastic bags pollute the ocean, birds, fish, and other sea creatures get tangled in them or wind up with plastic in their digestive systems.

In response, many countries have banned plastic bags. Currently, there’s no national ban on plastic bags in the United States. However, individual states have begun to place their own restrictions on these bags. California, Hawaii, New York and Oregon have bans in place for all disposable bags. Moreover, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine and Vermont have passed legislation to ban plastic bags, most of which will go into effect either this year or next.

Additionally, many local government entities (by city or county) have adopted ordinances that either set a use fee on plastic bags or ban them altogether.

The Solution: Reusable Bags

Reusable bags help solve some of the problems that many see in the widespread use of disposable plastic bags. Often made of environmentally friendly fabrics or recycled materials, a reusable bag or tote can be easily carried to the grocery store week after week.

The consistent use of reusable bags can reduce the number of plastic bags circulating in the community. That’s a direct reduction of the risk to our landscape, rivers and oceans, as well as our overcrowded landfills, where the bags can take up to 20 years to decompose.

To make the best use of reusable bags, it’s important to take precautions to keep them clean and free of germs and other substances that can spread illness. This is especially true as we respond to a global pandemic. While some cities have temporarily reversed bans on plastic bags and other single-use plastics because of Covid-19, the CDC reiterated again recently that the virus does not spread easily from surfaces and this method of transmission poses little risk. In addition, there are guidelines in place to keep your reusable bags safe:

  • Don’t put meat and poultry in the same bag with fresh produce. Keep those items separated.
  • Make sure your raw meat, fish and produce are put in disposable plastic bags before placing them in your reusable bag. This will help reduce cross-contamination of dangerous germs like salmonella or E. coli.
  • Frequently wash your cloth bags with regular laundry detergent, then air dry or put in a dryer on a low heat setting.
  • Store your bags in a cool, dry place if you can.
  • Make sure you use your grocery bags only for food shopping. Don’t use them as laundry bags, for example, without washing them thoroughly between uses.

The Reach and ROI of Branded Promotional Bags

Given the usefulness of reusable bags, it’s worth exploring them as a marketing tool. Not only do reusable bags provide value to your prospects and customers, they also get a lot of visibility as they’re used week after week.

In fact, promotional bags are well-known as an effective form of advertising with consumers, 73% of whom own at least one promotional bag. Consumers also report they keep these bags for 11 months on average.

Even more important, these bags have an impressive reach. One promotional bag can generate 3,300 impressions throughout its useful life. Multiply that by dozens or hundreds across different cities, and this becomes an impressive low-cost way to keep your brand top of mind. What’s more, half of consumers report that receiving a promotional bag from a company makes them more likely to do business with the advertised brand.

Ready to gift reusable bags? Choose one of these reusable shopping totes , then add your logo for the perfect touch. With so many sizes and color options to choose from, these totes are an ideal way for prospects and customers to do their part to help the environment over the long haul.

Need help making your selection? Get in touch with one of our reps and see for yourself why we’re called the promo known-how people.