Saving our planet; one bag at a time

January 8, 2009

Imagine, boots from recycled plastic!!

Chilean industrial design student Camila Labra has invented a whole new concept of “environmentally sound” footwear.

She calls them Dacca Boots (after the capital of Bangladesh because they’ve banned plastic bags there), and they feature an extensive collection of ankle high boots - made mostly out of recycled plastic bags.

The boots are built by fusing several layers of polyethylene plastic shopping bags together, resulting in a resistant material, sturdy enough to mold - while the interior components are covered with quilted cotton fabric, to ensure comfort - these boots are impermeable, non-toxic, lightweight & flexible.

December 10, 2008

No minimums, complete customisation and total happiness. That’s what we promise our customers

And we deliver! Every time! Pennsylvania wine aficionados will now get a free wine bag made by us.

Mark, who runs was concerned about the avoidable packaging used when people buy wine.

When he set out looking for a solution he found us. Here’s a testimonial he kindly sent us: “I wanted to get some reusable bags made with my web site logo. Norquest was the only company willing to make a relatively small number of bags. They were easy to work with and produced a custom bag exactly the way I wanted. I am very happy with the final product”

Here’s what Mark says on his website:

“Have you ever stopped to think about the number of paper and plastic bags you bring home every time you visit a Pennsylvania Wine & Spirits Shoppe? If you buy three bottles, two of them are put into their own separate brown paper bag, then they are all put into a larger brown paper bag, and lastly that is put into a plastic bag. The rule seems to be n+1: If you buy n bottles, you’ll be given n+1 bags.

So in the spirit of going green, PAWineTalk is pleased to offer our own reusable wine bag. Made from durable non-woven polypropylene, our bags hold three regular bottles or magnums, with internal dividers to keep them separated. And of course it sports a nifty PAWineTalk logo!”

As we’re based in India, we don’t get to meet as many of our customers as we’d like to. Some kindly write and tell us that they are happy with what we do for them, and send us a testimonial, it makes us very happy.

Mark is so right. Studies indicate that gift wrapping adds an additional one million tons per week to US landfills. If people only switched to our reusable gift bags and wine bags, the US could achieve a huge saving in landfill waste!

See the line at When you look you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see how affordable they are. Why mess up our world? It’s the only planet we have folks!

December 4, 2008

Retailers benefit from eco-friendly perception: Deloitte & Touche

Consumers are happy to pay more for green products and prefer to shop at eco-friendly retailers says this article from the Los Angeles Times. The easiest way to achieve that is to give away one of our eco-friendly reusable shopping bags. Each one get reused more than 500 times and the retailer’s logo is seen by at least 100 people each time, getting him that eco-friendly perception from at least 50,000 consumers. For an unbelievably low cost!

An eco-friendly holiday is on many consumers’ minds — along with an uncertain economic situation. Many say they will shop less and cut their holiday budgets by hundreds of dollars. So in addition to slashing prices and extending store hours, retailers are boosting their selection of green products to attract shoppers.

“All retailers are looking for some edge,” said Richard Giss, a partner in accounting firm Deloitte & Touche’s consumer business division in Los Angeles. “If they can be seen as the eco-friendly retailer, that will help them.”

In Deloitte’s annual holiday survey this year, nearly half of consumers said they were willing to pay more for green gifts despite the bad economy, and 1 in 5 said they would purchase more eco-friendly products this holiday season than in the past.

But going green doesn’t mean having to spend a lot of it. “It’s a massive misconception,” said Sophie Uliano, a Los Angeles author who wrote “Gorgeously Green: 8 Simple Steps to an Earth-Friendly Life.” “People think solar panels, hybrid cars, organic jeans and very expensive skincare. But that doesn’t have to be the case.”

Whether you have already adopted an environmentally friendly lifestyle or are just starting out by recycling here and there, here are cost-conscious green gift ideas to get you started.

Finding an affordable, eco-friendly gift is easier than you might think. These days, brick-and-mortar stores and online merchants carry a wide selection of green products such as bamboo fiber bathrobes and stuffed animals made from recycled sweaters.

KellygreenAt Kellygreen Design + Home, a specialty store in Silverlake, owner Kelly Van Patter said environmentally minded holiday shoppers have purchased the store’s reusable water bottles, 100% recycled paper goods and eco-friendly bath products as gifts.

“The most popular items are functional, for people who are trying to focus on giving gifts that are low-impact,” Van Patter said. “A lot of the items are handmade and made from recycled things, so they’re not mass-produced.”

But your choices aren’t limited to small boutiques and eco-friendly websites. Big-name retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart are highlighting green items on their shelves and on the Web.

One of the most useful and cost-conscious gifts is a reusable shopping bag roomy enough to fit groceries and household items. Many stores encourage consumers to use such tote bags, which eliminate the need for “paper or plastic?” at the checkout line. Some stores even give 5-cent discounts to shoppers who bring their own bags.

“It bothers me to think we’re hurting the environment and all we have to do is bring a bag to the store to reduce that impact,” said Aynsley Amidei, co-founder of Chicago-based Goody Green Bag, which sells reusable totes for $8.95. “When I go to Macy’s or anywhere, I don’t use their bags anymore, so I’m saving them money. It’s a whole change of thinking.”

Another option is to buy a present that doesn’t involve a lot of packaging.

Ethan Schreiber, a composer from the Hollywood Hills, said he eliminated waste by not buying “material goods” as gifts.

“Rather than buying people things, I buy them experiences” such as gift cards to restaurants and concert tickets, said Schreiber, 31. “It makes me feel better.”

Another feel-good gift is a donation in your giftee’s name to an eco-friendly charity or a park or zoo. If the person you’re buying for is an animal lover, the World Wildlife Fund offers “symbolic adoptions” of more than 90 species, including polar bears and dolphins. A $25 adoption comes with a species spotlight card, a certificate and a photo of the animal you chose.

November 17, 2008

Add an element of fun or style to your reusable bags

I’ve been convinced of this for a while now. Even as more people begin to switch to reusable bags instead of plastic or paper bags, they’re not really satisfied with just plain jane cloth bags. That’s why we offer so many customization options to our customers.

This story from the Bristol Press highlights the point.

Customers were bringing reusable bags from other stores into Stew Leonard stores, asking for something similar in a shopping bag in place of the canvas bags the store had been offering.

Stew Leonard’s youngest daughter, 13-year-old Madison Leonard, picked up on the idea. She surveyed more than 600 customers about what they wanted in a reusable shopping bag, including which materials and designs appealed to them.

“Overall, customers told us they wanted a fun design,” Madison Leonard said.

Here’s the whole story.


Herald Press staff

NEWINGTON - It took a 13-year-old girl to discover what customers wanted in a reusable shopping bag.

Bob Warren, Stew Leonard’s director of operations at its Newington store, said customers were bringing reusable bags from other stores into Stew Leonard stores, asking for something similar in a shopping bag in place of the canvas bags the store had been offering.

Stew Leonard’s youngest daughter, 13-year-old Madison Leonard, picked up on the idea. She surveyed more than 600 customers about what they wanted in a reusable shopping bag, including which materials and designs appealed to them.

“Overall, customers told us they wanted a fun design,” Madison Leonard said. “Their favorite was actually the cow-print bag, which is ironic, because it was the one design my grandfather [who founded Stew Leonard's] originally told me to take out of the survey. Good thing we listen to our customers.”

Madison Leonard said another winner was the “Eat Right, Eat Healthy” design; it was a favorite among both kids, who liked the design, and their parents, who liked the nutritional message.

Since Stew Leonard’s began offering reusable canvas bags last year, and since then the stores’ overall plastic bag use is down 15 percent. To date, more than 80,000 reusable bags have been sold in Stew Leonard’s four stores, with sales up 300 percent over last year. In Newington, Stew Leonard’s sold 12,237 bags and has given away 4,629 since Jan. 1.

Last week, Stew Leonard’s introduced a new type of reusable bags in its Newington store, replacing the canvas bags. The new version is made from more than 50 percent recyclable materials; the inside core is a material made from recycled plastic bottles, while the outside film is a polypropylene material that makes it water repellent and

easily wiped clean. The bags, the size of a standard paper bag, are much more durable than plastic or paper and can hold up to 40 pounds and be reused numerous times.

The three distinct designs include:

The popular cow motif. Madison Leonard says the animals “are all the rage, and this black and white cow-print bag is ‘moovelous.’”

The Healthy Way. Remind yourself to “Eat Right, Eat Healthy,” with a bag that features an illustration from Stew Leonard’s nutrition storybook for kids, “The Healthy Way.” The design is on a white background with lime green trim.

And the easily recognizable Stew Leonard’s logo. Customers show their love of farm-fresh foods by sporting a golden yellow bag imprinted with a subtle Stew Leonard’s script logo as a background pattern, with a prominent “kid and cow” logo in the center.

“We want to encourage customers to be green as much as possible,” explained Meghan Flynn, vice president of public relations for Stew Leonard’s. “The best way to do that is to offer these reusable bags. Paper isn’t any better than plastic.”

The new reusable bags are sold for $1.29 each. In addition, customers who spend $200 get a free bag with their purchase. As an incentive, customers who use reusable bags in place of plastic or paper are entered into a monthly drawing to win a $50 Stew Leonard’s gift card. The bags are available in the store and can be ordered online at

Stew Leonard’s is also launching a promotion that builds off the company’s famous “Bags Around the World” wall. Previously, customers received a $3 gift card for sending in creative photos of themselves holding their Stew Leonard’s bag. Now customers who send in a photo of themselves holding one of Stew Leonard’s reusable bags receive a $5 gift certificate.

The average American household uses about 900 plastic bags a year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Between all four Stew Leonard’s stores, the company uses 18 million plastic bags a year. Since January, Stew Leonard’s has recycled close to 50,000 pounds of plastic, which translates to about 2.6 million plastic bags. “While it is a great start, the solution is to encourage customers to use reusable shopping bags,” says Bob warren, director of operations.

Warren says paper bags aren’t the answer, either, since it takes more than four times the energy to manufacture a paper bag as it does to make a plastic bag. Because they are bulkier, it takes 64 truckloads to deliver all the paper bags Stew Leonard’s needs versus 12 trailer loads for plastic bags. It also takes 91 percent less energy to recycle a pound of plastic than it takes to recycle a pound of paper.

“At Stew Leonard’s, we pride ourselves on listening to our customers,” said Stew Leonard Jr. “We hope that by providing functional reusable bags in a choice of fun, colorful designs, customers will be more likely to use them in place of plastic and remember to bring them in every time they shop. We can all make a difference by reducing our use of plastic, one bag at a time.”

Stew Leonard’s, a family-owned and operated fresh-food store, was founded in 1969. It operates stores in Norwalk, Danbury, Newington and Yonkers, N.Y.

Scott Whipple can be reached at or by calling (860) 225-4601, ext. 319.

November 10, 2008

Start a new trend from Japan in your markets – minibags

The world’s fashion industry has recognised that Japanese street fashion often points the way to megatrends.

The latest story coming out of Japan is about the sudden popularity of mini-bags. It was carried in the Daily Yomiuri a couple of months back.

Entrepreneurs in countries where fashion is meaningful, would do well to read this story.

Here’s the story:

Minibags, small purses that can hold little more than a mobile phone, wallet or accessories, are one of the latest fashion trends. They come in a wealth of shapes and styles - some with colourful patterns, others with sequins.

You can enjoy them simply as utilitarian totes or as fashion accessories in their own right. They are also handy for tidying up inside your larger bag, as they help you sort out various items.

Concierge Petit, a shop in the Marunouchi building near Tokyo Station, is always crowded with women contemplating a series of Babyroo minibags.

The bag, 20cm by 22cm, is suitable for holding a clutch wallet.

Some Babyroo bags are adorned with illustrations on the cotton fabric while others are glamorously decorated with beads.

The shop deals with more than 50 kinds of Babyroo bags, most of them priced from 2,100 yen (US$20) to 20,000 yen ($187).

Super Planning Co, a company in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, dealing with lifestyle items, launched Babyroo in 2005 as bags handy for office workers to take along when going out for lunch. The variety on offer has increased every season.

The bag comes with a pocket designed to hold train passes and other cards. A shop manager said the products are popular among people of all ages, ranging from teenagers to elderly women.

Heming’s Inc, another company handling household items, started selling its Etoffe minibag in 2005. The bag is characterised by its materials, often Swedish or French fabric, and sophisticated design.

The bag, 20cm by 18 cm by 7cm, is priced from 4,095 yen ($38) to about 20,000 yen ($187).

A spokesperson for the company, based in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, touted Etoffe bags as gorgeous, befitting any party “It is also good when you’re on the move, as you can use it when going to a restaurant, for example” the spokesperson said.

In May, imported households goods shop Plaza began carrying Bag in Bag, a glittering, shiny, polyurethane minibag.

The Bag in Bag is 16cm by 22cm by 7cm. The bag includes a pocket for a mobile phone, and is priced at 2,310 yen ($22). The bag is now stocked at about 70 Plaza outlets.

Many women change their bags to suit what they wear. If you always keep small items in a minibag, it is easy to transfer them from one bag to the other, according to your outfit, said a spokesperson for Plaza Style, the company behind Plaza.

When you buy these minibags from us, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find out how economical they can be. Calculate the potential markups and write to me today - rajiv at badlani dot com.

November 5, 2008

What does your bag say about you?

Australian fashionista and media star Eisman Kathryn, who earlier wrote a bestseller titled how to tell a man by his shoes, has just released a witty sequel called How to Tell a Woman by her Handbag.

Here’s what the publisher’s website (Penguin Australia) says about it.

What does your bag say about you? Does your ‘it’ bag reveal you to be a style-obsessed fashionista who will do anything or anyone to get ahead? Are you the floral straw-bag girl with squeaky clean hair and a heart full of dirty secrets? Perhaps you’re the mink purse-carrying minx who has turned divorce into a profession, or the briefcase-wielding high-flyer whose favourite form of exercise is climbing the corporate ladder?

With forensic precision and cutting wit, Kathryn Eisman helps us to identify our own handbag personas and those of our family, friends and foes. From the ‘I don’t mind being daggy as long as I’m comfortable’ bum-bag lover to the Hermes-clutching-heiress, we are all bag ladies - now it’s time to discover exactly which one.

Sounds like fun doesn’t it?

But when you think about it, the shopping bag people use says a lot about them. With the growing awareness of the harm that plastic bags do, being seen with your shopping in a plastic bag could do serious harm to your public image.

November 3, 2008

How sassy can YOU get?

Filed under: Branding, Environment — Tags: , , , — Kaajal @ 6:01 pm

You’ve got to admit that the F word makes that bag interesting and noticeable. If you’d like your own sassy statement on a bag, talk to us today! We’ll enjoy making them for you.

In this article from the website Nin J.A.Castle, Creative Director appears to imply that bags imported from the East are inevitably made in sweatshops. I just sent him a mail saying this needn’t be so and that there are some right thinking folks who manufacture bags also and told him he might like to talk to us. My primary motive of course was to tell him how much I enjoyed looking at his sassy punchline on the bag.

Bags with Attitude

First, we overused plastic bags, and then we started using various forms of reusable carrier bags. Then there were designer reusable bags, bags with slogans and even bags with attitudes. English designer Anya Hindmarch, created a worldwide phenomena with her ‘I’m not a plastic bag’ bag - later it was revealed that the bag was not quite as green as people first thought, and there was some, well, bag backlash.

We caught up with Nin J.A. Castle, Creative Director at the award-winning fashion design company Goodone’s in the UK, to find out why the bag backlash and can bags really be cheeky and sustainable. Frankly it doesn’t get much sassier than their new reusable bag.

What is the concept behind the bag?

Well the idea came about because we were annoyed by the Anya Hindmarch ‘I’m not a plastic bag’ bag. It was promoted in the UK as being a really ethical bag and was such a big craze with people queuing from early in the morning to buy one. Most people thought the bag was made from organic fabric and in a non-sweat factory. This was not the case. So we decided to create our own bag in response, we came up with some really funny slogans like ‘This is not a publicity stunt’ but eventually settled on ‘Do I fucking look like a plastic bag?’ Also we change the handwriting on the bags with every batch we make, so each bag is a limited edition, and has a character all of its own.

It encourages a new consumer group to use less plastic, people who are not so concerned about the environment.

-Nin J.A. Castle

Is the cheeky slogan proving popular? With who?

Yes, the slogan is really popular and surprisingly with people from all age groups. We have had people who are disapproving, telling us off for using a swear word, etc. But at least we provoke a reaction. It’s mainly a younger customer aging from 16 - 35, but we also get a lot of older ladies who buy it for their grandchildren, they often find the bag hilarious and comment on how their daughter will tell them off for buying it.

How does it encourage reducing plastic use?

It encourages a new consumer group to use less plastic, people who are not so concerned about the environment. It is one of Goodone’s aims to not preach to the converted, but encourage the younger generation to think about the environment in a really tongue-in-cheek way.

Do you think the bag might offend people?

I hope not, I hope that people can see the funny side and when we do have complaints we just tell them it is made with organic cotton and manufactured by a charity. Sometimes this works sometimes it doesn’t. There is a lot worse on television, even with people walking down the street.

How does art/fashion encourage activism?

Fashion empowers people and gives them confidence. It reflects attitudes and hopefully gets the cultural ball rolling in the right direction.

How much does it cost?

It only costs £8.

How can North Americans get one?

You can order one off the website - just go to the shop section.

Or you can order them from us in India - Infinitely lower priced of course. And not from a sweatshop.

October 25, 2008

Americans are thinking greener

I just read about a national survey commissioned by a leading American retail chain Plow & Hearth where they found that half of Americans plan to purchase an environmentally friendly gift this holiday season.

Even more heartening, 66% of them are willing to spend between 10 and 25% more on green gifts.

Women (55%) are more apt than men (45%) to purchase green products. Middle-aged (56%) and younger (54%) Americans are more likely than their older (40%) counterparts to purchase eco-friendly gifts. Those in the West (57%) are more likely than Americans in the South (51%), Northeast (49%) and the Midwest (42%) to buy green gifts.

How accurate is this finding? Pretty accurate it seems. A nationally representative sample of 1,001 Americans was interviewed by telephone via Ipsos’ U.S. Telephone Express omnibus. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate within ± 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire population of adults in the U.S. been polled.

Great news indeed. Indicating clearly that environmentally friendly behaviour is appreciated and respected by a very large number of American consumers.

Makes sense to consider reusable fabric promotion bags for your next branding or promotional activity. They are amazingly affordable (see and discover how affordable) and very attractive, and even more important, greatly appreciated by your consumers.

October 24, 2008

Promotional bags easily score over all other promotional devices

Filed under: Branding, Environment — Tags: , , , — Kaajal @ 2:49 pm
You can’t find a more intelligent promotional device than a reusable cloth promotional bag.

To start with Barrack Obama earns a lot of subliminal brownie points every time somebody sees his candidature being promoted on an eco-friendly reusable promotional bag. The message is: This candidate values the environment and is promoting himself tastefully.

Whether you’re promoting a Presidential candidate or a product or a service, you can’t find a more intelligent promotional device than a reusable cloth promotional bag.

It lasts and lasts and is reused hundreds of times and continues to act as a walking billboard for you every time it is reused. People use it to carry their shopping in and when they do hundreds of other shoppers and passers-by see them carrying it. Each one of them gets the message, that the candidate or the product or the service being promoted has good sense and good taste and is a caring member of the community.

What better message could you give out?

You’ll be happy to hear that these attractive bags cost less than you might think. Make a quick visit to to find out how affordable they are.

You’ll also be pleased to find that we don’t insist on any minimums and will customise and ship even 20 bags if you want.

September 20, 2008

The bad news about plastics continues

Filed under: Branding, Environment — Kaajal @ 7:57 pm


Despite industry assurances that plastics aren’t really bad, frightening news continues to emerge from independent research. The latest news (in todays New York Times) is about BPA - bisphenol-A — a chemical used in many plastics and epoxy resins now found in baby bottles and liners for canned goods.

In animal testing it was discovered to break connections between brain cells, and if this happens in humans also (no real reason to believe it wouldn’t), no one would want his children subjected to a risk of that nature. Several US states and the US Congress are considering banning bisphenol-A.

All plastics, including plastic bags, leach out trace quantities of the chemicals they contain into stuff (including food) carried in them.

The best effort, however, would be the Kid-Safe Chemicals Act. It would require that children’s products are proved safe before they are sold, not — as with BPA — the other way around.

Stick to cotton or jute bags.

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