Reusable shopping bags aren’t new. In many countries, single-use plastic bags are banned, while other countries, like Vietnam, are considering following suit. Many individual shoppers have made the decision to bring their own bags when shopping, and plenty of companies no longer offer single-use plastic bags, opting for reusable options instead.
However, single-use plastic bags are cheap, lightweight, and easy to use, so it’s understandable that your company may not be keen to switch away from such a useful bagging option. We’re here to give you some reasons why reusable bags are the way to go.
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1. It’s good for the environment
Single-use plastic bags (HDPE bags) are by far the most prevalent shopping bag. They’re lightweight, they’re cheap to produce, and they can be reused as bin liners or other similar uses. However, a few key characteristics of HDPE plastic bags makes them a poor choice for our environment.
- They require petroleum—a finite resource—to produce. (12 million barrels of oil are required to manufacture 100 billion plastic bags, which is the amount of plastic bags consumed per year in the United States alone.)
- They are difficult to recycle.
- Even when they are recycled, they can only be recycled a limited number of times.
According to this UK study, “the key to reducing the impact of all carrier bags is to reuse them as much as possible.” This is simply something that flimsy single-use plastic bags can’t accomplish.
Although even reusable bags end up in landfills and as litter, single-use plastic bags, because of their lightweight design, tend to be a unique scourge to nature. Over 100,000 marine animals are killed per year by plastic bags, and these bags are often found in the stomachs of wildlife creatures.
Although we’ve yet to determine a shopping bag material that’s complete without fault—every material has its own environmental impact—single-use plastic bags show too many shortcomings. For the sake of our environment, we need to move away from these bag types and toward something with less negative impact.
2. It’s good for marketing
The problems with single-use plastic bags are no secret. Consumers are aware of the worldwide issues with plastic waste, and they want to be part of the solution.
In Vietnam, a growing number of Vietnamese consumers are concerned with environmental issues, especially younger generations in urban areas. Items like non-plastic straws and reusable bags are becoming an offering that consumers look for from the businesses that they support. It’s a trend that would behoove businesses to jump upon.
Besides the fact that limiting single-use plastics is something that your consumers want, it also presents a unique opportunity to get your brand and logo out there. Sell reusable bags with your logo on them, and you’ll ensure that your logo is seen any time that bag is used—even at your competitors’ stores.
These days, it’s never a bad thing to be seen as a green-minded company. Offering reusable bags in favor of single-use plastic bags is one small way to be seen as such.
3. Help change consumer behavior
Although consumers are savvy when it comes to environmental issues, it takes individuals, businesses, and lawmakers working together in order to achieve worldwide environmental goals. By encouraging the use of reusable bags, you can use your company message for good and push your customers toward more sustainable choices.
This study suggested that if someone makes a virtuous choice, like using a reusable shopping bag, they’re more likely to continue to make righteous choices. These findings present the idea that by simply offering and using reusable bags, you may start a domino effect that encourages more sustainable behavior from your customers.
The study also found that those who used a reusable bag were more likely to invest in a more luxury item as a sort of reward for their good action. So, not only will your customers make the more environmental choice by shopping with a reusable bag, but there’s evidence to suggest that they may spend more, too. It’s a win-win for you!
Reusable bags aren’t just good for the environment; they’re good for your business as well. Making the switch to reusable bags over single-use plastic can improve your public image, advance sales, and it will allow you to market your company as green-minded. When you’re looking at potentially increasing your consumer base and making a healthy choice for the environment, there’s really no question that reusable bags are the right answer.