Tag Archives: reusable bags

3 Fresh Reasons to Take Reusable Shopping Bags While Christmas Shopping

eco-friendly-christmasChances are, if you’re like most Americans, you’ve already begun your Christmas shopping this year. But you probably have many more trips to your local stores to pick up even more gifts. In fact, the National Retail Federation predicts that this year’s shopping spend is going to be phenomenal. It predicts that local shoppers will spend an astonishing $656 billion on gifts, which is 3.6 percent higher than last year. And online shoppers are predicted to spend 7 to 10 percent more, which is about $177 billion.

That’s a huge amount of packages that will be placed in plastic bags, and then later wrapped in more paper to give as a gift.

Wow—that’s quite an environmental impact all stemming from Christmas shopping, isn’t it?

Luckily, there are some steps people can take that will help reduce that impact a little bit, but it will take some minor effort on your part. For instance, instead of allowing your local store to put your package in a plastic bag, why not take your own reusable shopping bag with you? This one step can make a huge difference for our planet.

If you’re not yet convinced, here are three important reasons why you should make the switch to reusable shopping bags.

They Reduce the Oil Reserves

Let’s face it, there is only so much oil in the world, and we need it to fuel our cars and continue to live kind of lifestyle we’ve become accustomed to—until someone figures out how to create an alternative system that is practical and affordable. But those plastic bags consume an enormous amount of that oil. For instance, people use 1 trillion plastic bags a year, and it takes 100 million barrels of oil to produce all of those bags. If everyone made the switch to reusable shopping bags, all that oil could be used for energy, and it would likely result in gasoline and energy price reductions.

They’re Ruining our Oceans

Did you know that it takes plastic bags hundreds of years, even up to a thousand, for to biodegrade? That’s important because the bags are so expensive to recycle that most of them don’t end up in recycling centers, but instead end up in landfills and our waterways, including the ocean. Which leads us to our next point.

They Cause Cancer

As if using up the reserves of our precious oil and killing marine animals isn’t enough, plastic bags can also cause cancer. How? Because all those bags that aren’t recycled end up in our ocean. In fact, there is a huge floating garbage dump in the middle of the ocean filled with them. But once plastic bags come in contact with water, they won’t ever fully degrade, but instead turn into what is known as “plastic dust.” This dust contains biotoxin compounds, which are also known as PCB’s. And once those PCBs break down, they can enter our food source, which are known to cause cancer in humans, as well as immune and nervous system disorders.

Sounds overwhelming, doesn’t it? Granted it’s a large problem that needs addressing, but instead of just worrying about it, why not do your part by saying no to plastic bags and instead take along your own reusable shopping bag this holiday season?

It’s Time to Celebrate: California just Passed a Statewide Ban on Plastic Bags

Shopping-Bags-Strawberry-ready-optimized-720x600About a week ago, we alerted you to the fierce battle going on between environmentalists in California over two propositions that were in direct conflict with each other. One of them was fought for by those concerned about the negative impact plastic pollution is having on our environment, while the other side—the plastic industry—tried to convince California locals to abandon the effort to keep the pollution at bay.

We’re happy to report that the environmentalists won, and now California is the first state in the nation to impose a state wide ban on the use of plastic bags.

If you’ve forgotten why that’s so important, here are a few facts to remind you:

  • Thousands of marine animals and over a million sea birds are killed every year because they mistake the plastic bags for jellyfish (food), and that causes them to suffocate when they can digest the bags.
  • The average American uses—and then throws away—an astonishing 1,500 plastic bags every year. Just imagine, for a town that has 300,000 citizens, that’s 450 million plastic bags that enter our environment as trash every year.
  • Plastic bags take about 1,000 to degrade.
  • Most plastic bags don’t end up in recycling centers because the cost to recycle them is just too much. Instead, they end up in the sewers, drainage and streets of our cities and town.
  • What doesn’t end up in our cites is eventually washed out to sea. In fact, there is currently a massive garbage dump the size of Texas floating on our ocean waters. It’s one of the reasons so many marine animals are killed every year.

As you can see, it’s important for everyone to do what we can to reduce the amount of this destructive waste. One of the best ways to do that is to say no to plastic bags, even if your community hasn’t yet passed a plastic bag ban, and begin to carry reusable shopping bags on your outings.

And contrary to popular myth, reusable bags aren’t just for the grocery store. You can carry them with you as you shop everywhere, and in fact, many stores now offer slight discounts off your purchases if you use a reusable shopping bag.

Now that the holidays are upon us, why not make the switch? It will not only help keep our environment clean for future generations, but it will help keep the clutter of all the plastic bags out of your home.

Local California Residents in Fight of Their Lives for Plastic Bag Ban

downloadLocal California residents are up in arms about the threat to their ban on plastic bags that is coming from the very people who manufacture the disposable bags. As you know, we believe in doing all we can to protect our environment, and one of the best ways to do that is by making the switch from plastic bags to reusable shopping bags. And while people all over the world are doing just that, some corporate giants are trying to prevent it from happening.

For instance, there is a huge fight in California right and, so we thought we’d highlight it and tell you exactly what’s going on.

The Initial Ban on California Plastic Bags

In 2014, Governor Jerry Brown passed a law that banned plastic bags across the entire state. This was great news for a state that spends millions of dollars every year on the cleanup of those bags. But although the ban was great for the environment, and would have saved taxpayers about $400 million per year in cleanup costs, the plastic bag manufacturers weren’t happy. So they began collecting signatures, and produced enough of them to keep the law from being enacted.

And it’s no wonder. Plastic bag manufacturers collect about $1 million a month from California residents, who use on average of 400 plastic bags a year.

Now There are Two Choices

So what did the plastic bag manufactures do? They created their own proposed law, called Proposition 65, which only serves to confuse consumers and do away with the benefits the environment would see from a reduction in plastic bags.

How does it do this?

Proposition 65 uses confusing language, because at first glance, it appears that the bill is good for the environment because it gives money to a wildlife fund. But the language is deceiving.

In the original bill, local California grocery store owners would be allowed to charge .10 cent each time a consumer requests a paper bag because they failed to bring their own reusable shopping bag with them. This fee reimburses the grocery store owners at a negligible profit. And the fee would cause many people to remember their reusable shopping bags in order to avoid the fee.

But Proposition 65 takes away the .10 cent fee from the grocery store owners and instead gives it a wildlife fund. The will eventually force grocery store owners to raise their food prices in order to recoup the expense, and what’s worse, people may believe they’re doing good by using paper bags, which could cause them to purposefully leave their reusable shopping bags behind.

And if that happens, the environment will suffer.

The Real Environmental Bill

On the other hand, Proposition 65 fully enacts the prior plastic bag ban that Governor Brown signed into lawtwo years ago, and reimburses grocery store owners the .10 cent fee when customers use paper bags in instead of their own shopping bags.

Don’t be confused by the plastic bag manufacturer’s attempt to keep that $1 million a month gravy coming in from local California residents. Instead, protect your local environment and say no to corporate interests that would harm it in the name of profit

3 Ways to Support Local Environmental Causes

imagesWe talk a lot about environmental issues on this blog, and that’s because we understand that, although the problem is widespread and overwhelming, the solution will come at a local level. In other words, we can’t do much to affect the issue on a global level, but we can do a lot to affect in our local communities.

So, today we want to talk about three ways local consumers can have an impact on the planet just by making a few changes in their lives.

Reuse What You Can

One of the biggest problems when it comes to environmental pollution is the habit of using something once and then discarding it. For instance, instead of drinking bottled water, where you throw away a plastic bottle every time you have a drink of water, use steel water containers that can be used over and over again. As a bonus, it will keep you healthier as plastic water bottles have been shown to cause serious health issues.

Think Digital

There are so many ways you can reduce waste by going digital. For example, instead of buying that CD or DVD, download the music or watch the movie online. Sign up for electronic bill notification, and carry a wooden straw instead of using the disposable plastic ones offered by restaurants. Take a look at your everyday habits and determine where you can reduce waste by taking it to the cloud.

Say No to Disposable Plastic Bags

One of the best ways to make a local impact in your community is to say no to disposable plastic bags when shopping and instead carry your own reusable shopping bag. Expert say that if you do that and you’re an average family, you’ll protect your local environment from 1,500 plastic bags. But be sure to use the right bags. Studies show that using cotton or canvas bags will actually do more harm than good. Instead use polyester shopping bags like the cute fruit and vegetable LA PoP designs. Those same studies show this is the only type of bag that has of an environmental impact than plastic bags.

Isn’t it good to know that by making just a few changes, you can positively impact your local community? Don’t be overwhelmed by all that’s going on with our worsening environment, but instead make the decision to do what you can—even if it’s only on a local level.

How to Draw Green Customers to Your Local Business

CountyBringYourOwnBagLogo_1The “green” crowd is getting bigger and bigger all the time as consumers are alerted to the growing concerns about our environment. These days, the subject is taught in schools, colleges, and the news widely reports on it. So it’s no wonder that so many consumers have begun to do all they can to help reduce their own environmental impact. And those local businesses that speak to these consumers will see an increase in not only their foot traffic, but their sales.

If you own a local business, here are three ways you can attract the “green” crowd to your store—and cash in as these consumers support your business.

Get Involved in Local Environmental Events

Every community sponsors events that are meant to protect the environment. Whether it’s a trash pickup day, a save the turtle day, or a day set aside to repair the local park, you should consider not only sponsoring it, but also participating yourself in the event. This way, you’ll meet community minded consumers and make those important connections. When people from the “green” movement see you as an active member, they’ll naturally want to support your business.

Offer Incentives for Reusable Shopping Bags

Any green minded consumer already carries reusable shopping bags, and many of those people like to frequent stores that offer incentives for those who use them. For example, some grocery stores offer anywhere from .05 to .10 cent per bag used. But there’s nothing that prohibits other types of stores from offering the same incentive. Why not make a policy in your store that gives consumers a small incentive every time they use a bag in your store? The plan could even work for restaurants if it offered an incentive to customers who brought their own take out bags.

Make Your Position Known in Your Advertising

Finally, green consumers look for businesses that they know hold the same beliefs and concerns that they do, which is why it’s important for you to get across that message in your advertising efforts. For example, if you sell recycled products or have “greened” your shop, make it public so your audience can find you.

Local green consumers probably make up a large part of your community, and if you want to draw them into your store, you’ll need to take a few steps to get their attention. Start with the three suggestions above and see whether or not your business increases.

How Local Business Owners can Help Customers Remember to Bring Reusable Bags

1389041091001-Bags12253If you own a local business, then you already understand the high costs associated with disposable plastic bags. Not only do they increase your expenses for every sale you make, but the cost to the environment is devastating. And many consumers are realizing this and have begun to carry reusable shopping bags with them when they shop.

But not all consumers have jumped on the reusable bag bandwagon yet. If some of your local customers are still relying on plastic bags, here are three things you can do to help to make the switch.

Give Them a Discount

Many stores now offer customers a discount for every reusable shopping bag they use during a purchase. The discounts average from .5 to .10 cents per bag, and although it’s not a lot of money, consumers feel that they’re getting something of value in exchange for using the bags. And if you’re like most local retailers, offering a small discount like this can save you money in the long run.

Make it Fun

Other stores have helped their customers make the switch by making the process fun for them. For instance, some Trader Joe locations give customers a chance to enter a raffle for a $25 gift card every time they bring their own reusable bags to the store. Other stores, like Fair Trade Villagers give customers a bite of Fair Trade chocolate every time they bring a reusable bag instead of a disposal one. According to the store, this not only makes customers happy, but it increases their chocolate sales. What could you do to create a fun and inspiring environment for your customers when they bring their own bags? Create something tailored to your business and watch your customers stop relying on your to provide them with disposable bags.

Sell Your Own

Have you noticed that at some stores, they create their own bags with their branding across the front and then offer them for sale at the cash register? This is a great way to not only help your customers make the switch, but also to get free advertising as those customers will then carry the bags to other stores an places.

Make a Trade

Finally, another great way to get your customers to carry reusable shopping bags and benefit both of you is to offer them a free bag in exchange for a review on your local business directory profile page. Those reviews help new customers find you and make the decision to do business with you. If you haven’t already claimed your profile on FindUsLocal, here’s an article about how to set up a local directory profile page, and another article about how to convince customers to leave reviews for your business.

Disposable bags are quickly becoming a thing of the past, and savvy local business owners are leading the change by providing fun and profitable ways for their customers to make the switch. Will you be a leader in this important issue for your own community?

How to Properly Wash Your Reusable Shopping Bags

WASH-ME-LAUNDRY-BAG-LOGO2Carrying reusable shopping bags is one of the best things you can do as an individual to help keep plastics from ruining the environment. After all, there have been countless studies that prove disposable plastics bags are killing marine life in record numbers, clogging up sewers and waterways in cities, and filling our oceans with heaps of plastic that floats around and causes massive destruction.

But if you’re already carrying a reusable bag, you probably already know all of that. After all, the harm plastic bags is causing in our environment is likely the reason you began carrying them in the first place. But did you know that unless you take certain steps, this act of environmental consciencous may be putting your health at risk?

It’s true—numerous studies have come out recently showing that, unless washed on a regular basis, reusable shopping bags can grow harmful bacteria, and even make you sick.

Take the case of the soccer team that grew ill last year. After exhaustive research, it was determined that a dirty reusable bag was the cause of the illness.

So, if you’re one of the millions of people who have made the switch and begun carrying reusable grocery bags, here are some cleaning tips for the type of bag you carry.

Cotton Reusable Bags

If you own this type of bag, you can throw it in with the rest of your laundry since it’s made from the same material as many of your clothes. Simply wash it in hot water and then either throw it in the dryer, or hang it on a clothesline to dry.

Hemp or Bamboo Reusable Bags

Both of these textures are becoming more and more popular for things such as clothing, sheets, and even hot and cold beverage coasters. To wash bags made of this material, wash it on the gentle cycle with either warm or hot water, and then either throw it in the dyer, or let it hang dry.

Polyester and Nylon Reusable Bags

These sturdy bags should be hand washed in warm water to keep them strong and pliable. After washing, you should turn them inside out and hang up to dry. Some of the most original and trendy bags are made from these materials as they give manufacturers a chance to get creative with styles and colors. For instance, LA PoP designed reusable bags that look like fruit and vegetables and come in an array of bright colors and designs.

Polypropylene Reusable Bags

These bags are made from recycled plastics and also come in a wide variety of colors and styles, and comes either woven or nonwoven. You can safely wash them two ways. First, you can wash them on the gentle cycle with a mild detergent and then hang them up to dry. If you prefer, you can hand wash them with warm water and then hang the up to dry.

Insulated Reusable Bags

Finally, some reusable bags come with a thermal lining or are made with an insulated polyester fiber to help keep foods and drinks warm or cold. You should wash these types of bags in warm water with a mild detergent and then hang it up to dry. Be sure to pay special attention to the seams when washing these types of bags.

And there you have it—a handy guide for washing all of your reusable shopping bags. Most experts agree that you should wash your bags at least once a week, and never keep them in your car because the heat will encourage bacteria to grow and thrive in them.

 

Why Reusable Shopping Bags are Better Than Paper and Plastic for Local Shopping

Plastic-Bag-PollutionIf you haven’t yet begun to carry reusable shopping bags to your favorite local stores and markets, then chances are you haven’t heard about all the reasons why you should. You see, long before the issue of the environment came into focus, people debated about whether paper or plastic was the better choice. The reasoning went something like this: paper is better than plastic because at least it will biodegrade. But oh, how times and knowledge has changed.

These days, it’s widely understood that if we really want to take care of our environment for future generations, we need to forego both paper and plastic and instead look to reusable shopping bags. Don’t believe us? Here are a few things that just might change your mind.

Why Paper Bags are Not Better than Reusable Shopping Bags

Some people believe that paper bags are better than plastic because they come from nature, while plastic bags are man made with a bunch of chemicals. And while that true on the surface, here are some other things to think about every time you ask for a paper bag:

  • Every year in America, people use about 10 billion paper bags, and that means 14 million trees have to be cut down to supply them. That significantly impacts climate change, including greenhouse gases.
  • In order to recycle paper bags, it takes 98 percent more energy than it does to recycle plastic bags. Unfortunately, only 10 to 15 percent of paper bags ever make it to the recycling plant. Of course, reusable grocery bags don’t need recycling, so they take no energy at all.
  • It takes 4 times the amount of energy to manufacture paper bags as it does plastic ones.
  • 70 percent more air pollution is generated for the production of paper bags.
  • 50 times more water pollution is generated when manufacturing paper bags.
  • Today’s paper bags are made up of toxic chemicals and are difficult to recycle.
  • Paper bags that reach landfills don’t decompose any better than plastic bags because they’re not exposed to air.

Sounds pretty bad, doesn’t it? But before you begin to think that plastic bags are the better solution, let’s take a look at some more facts.

Why Plastic Bags are Not Better Than Reusable Grocery Bags

Unfortunately, the list of negatives for plastic bags is just as long as it is for paper bags. Read the following to get an idea of why you should never again settle for a plastic shopping bag.

  • Plastic bags use more fossil fuels, crude oi, natural gas, and raw materials energy in their production.
  • It takes 12 million barrels of oil to produce the amount of plastic bags that we use every year. That costs our country about $500,000,000 a year!
  • Plastic bags take 1,000 years to decompose in a landfill, and as they break down, toxic substances leak into the ground.
  • Fewer than 4 percent of plastic bags are recycled. That’s because most recycling plants won’t even accept them. When they do end up in landfills,
  • The ocean is filled with so many plastic bags that it equals the size of Texas. Experts says that about 4 billion bags are simply blown away by the wind every year and many of them end up in the ocean. There, they contaminate our natural resources and kill the animals that live there.

So, What’s the Solution?

As you may have guessed, the solution to all this environmental havoc is reusable shopping bags. In a world filled with toxic substances, diminishing forests, and a climate gone crazy, doesn’t it make sense to do all you can to help alleviate the problem? So the next time you visit your local farmers market, grocery store or the dress shop around the corner, be sure to carry your own reusable shopping bags.