Saving our planet; one bag at a time

March 5, 2008

Businesses: Note how green positioning catches on

Filed under: Branding, Environment, Uncategorized — Kaajal @ 3:55 pm

Green marketing is here to stay

Unilever, in pursuance of a greener footprint, re-engineered their washing liquid Omo into a much more concentrated version that requires half the size of packaging the earlier version required. They called the new version Omo Small and Mighty.

Bingo! A new generic product category was born and there is now a multitude of brands launching a Small and Mighty version. This trend is here to stay.

Moral of the story: Green marketing is a smart thing to do. But consumers have become vary of greenwashing – making green claims that are just hot air. So, you have to put your money where your mouth is and show how you are really and meaningfully going greener.

One easy way to do this is to put your brand name on one of our reusable cloth bags. That becomes a walking billboard for your brand and tangible and visible proof of your green credentials.

April 7, 2005

Don’t waste! Australia shows the way

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rajiv Badlani @ 2:10 pm

Australia’s Northern Daily just published an article about how local councils have contributed huge sums of money for calico bags to be distributed free to residents.

The 13 participating councils are Armidale Dumaresq, Glen Innes, Gunnedah, Guyra, Gwydir, Inverell, Liverpool Plains, Moree, Narrabri, Tamworth, Tenterfield, Uralla and Walcha.

Vanessa Tiernan, project co-ordinator for the Northern Inland Regional Waste Group, said yesterday each of the group’s 13 constituent councils had contributed a collective $65,000 to buy 86,000 “Don’t Waste” bags.

They would all carry the same “Don’t Waste” message, but there would be one difference from council area to council area. In Tamworth, the bags would carry the message “Don’t Waste Tamworth”, whereas in the other areas, the message would be “Don’t Waste Glen Innes” or “Don’t Waste Inverell”.

Sensible. Where plastic bags are usually used just once or a few times before being discarded, the calico bags are so durable they can be used for months and even years.

Calico bags are attractive and economical as you can see at

No such thing as a free plastic or paper bag

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rajiv Badlani @ 11:41 am

Karama Neil, a lovely lady from Little Rock, Arkansas, wrote a blog about the harm plastic bags are doing and mentioned my blog as being a good reference source. Thank you, Karama. It’s nice to be acknowledged, particularly by a person as accomplished as you.

Karama’s weblog is at What a great concept “So what can I do?”

I disagree about paper bags, though. Cutting down a tree that takes years to grow, lugging it to sawmills and then to paper mills that consume huge amounts of electricity and water to produce a paper bag which gets used once and thrown away is also wasteful.

Using anything once and throwing it away is wasteful. Fabric bags get reused hundreds of times and make so much more sense.

But plastic and paper are cheaper, some will say. They aren’t, actually. The shops that give these to you “free” are actually paying for them and charging you an invisible premium for them. Even if they cost as little as 4 cents, over 300 uses that is $ 12.00. Our fabric bags start as low as 60 cents, and they can be reused used more than 300 times. Do the math!

Fabric bags are the real answer to saving our planet from the blight of plastic refuse. See how attractive and economical they are at

April 4, 2005

Plastic bags are not free

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rajiv Badlani @ 2:30 pm

Mary O’Keefe from Pompano Beach just wrote an article in the Sun-Sentinel in which she mentioned how she initially thought California’s proposed 17 cent tax on plastic bags was ridiculous and a burden on the consumer. But she quickly changed her mind. Here’s what she says.
“Then I went to my local grocery store and again came home with numerous plastic bags. Several bundles had two and three bags for one item that was not breakable nor particularly heavy,”

“I have changed my position. The one dismissed value of this proposal was the awareness of what we waste. Even though our behavior — not the plastic bags — is the problem, it would inspire awareness and conservation. We apparently need constant reminders or reprimands. Other countries that have implemented such a program report great success”

You’re so right, Mary. Plastic bag consumption fell 90% in Ireland after they imposed a tax on plastic bags.

People who believe plastic bags are being given free just aren’t aware of the facts. They cost you money, and more than you think.

So, it’s not really a burden either. The consumer is already paying this 17 cent cost in the form of city and municipal taxes. The 17 cent figure was worked out based on how much it costs communities to cope with the mess plastic bags create.

Add to this the fact that retailers who appear to give them away free are actually buying them and building the cost into the products they sell you. Most will be happy to offer you’re a discount if you bring your own bag.

Reusable fabric bags are an attractive and surprisingly economical alternative and very, very practical.

Most American have the impression that fabric bags are expensive. They aren’t. See how affordable they are at

January 5, 2005

Papua New Guinea leads by example!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rajiv Badlani @ 4:29 pm

I’m sure the words Papua New Guinea don’t immediately bring a picture of progressive governance to your mind (probably conjures up exotic images of tribals and beaches) but don’t underestimate them - just look at this major step they’ve taken.

The Papua New Guinea government has ordered a ban on plastic shopping bags in a bid to curb a major littering problem across the country.

To give them credit, many Indian state governments have also banned plastic bags, but when you look around you, it appears that no one has heard of this ban. They’re being distributed like they’re going out of style and factories are churning them out by the millions.

Sad. We also happen to be the world’s largest exporter of cotton and jute bags. These attractive and economical bags are saving the world from being choked by plastic but not being used here where the damage is as much.

To see just how attractive and economical they can be see Read the rest of the story here More…

December 22, 2004

Paper and plastic don’t cut it. Reusable cloth bags are the only sensible choice.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rajiv Badlani @ 6:15 am

The best choice isn’t paper or plastic, says Wayne Parker in this article in the Pacific Business News.

He adds “When faced with the question of paper vs. plastic bags at the local supermarket, the correct choice, according to environmental officials, is neither of the above. The best environmental choice is to skip a bag altogether, or if one is necessary, shoppers should take their own reusable shopping bags”.

You bet, Wayne!

Plastic bags get used once and then continue to contaminate our planet for 3000 years. Paper bags cause trees to get cut down – also for just one use. Cloth bags make so much more sense.

Each bag gets reused as many as 500 times. And every time they get reused, they are a potential walking billboard for some perceptive company that understands 360 degree branding and understands that consumers respect brands not for what they claim, but for the actions they take.In short your brand image isn’t determined what you say, but what you do.

See these powerful branding devices and find out how easy and economical they are at Read the full article here. More…

August 2, 2004

Looks like the world’s going to be in good hands!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rajiv Badlani @ 2:29 pm

A few months back our Australian associate Tom Rayner ( forwarded me a mail he got from a 13 year old young lady who was going to be the Australian delegate to the International Children’s Conference on the Environment in Connecticut
She’s recognised how dangerous plastic bags are. To spread the message at the conference she wanted 100 cotton bags. We were more than happy to sponsor the bags, if she found someone else to pick up the tab for the shipping (costs a fair bit as we’re in India).
I suggested she write to Fedex or UPS or an airline, and she went to work and got the Australian Postal Service to sponsor the shipping 
Meanwhile, she got Tom at Rayner Associates to sponsor a website for her and her weblog
Great going, particularly when you consider that this is a 13 year old girl. She’s shown more enterprise and get up and go than most adults I know.
We consider it a privilege to have been able to be involved with her effort and I am proud to know her.
Lauren, with kids like you running the world tomorrow, I’m sure it will be a nicer place than it is today!
If you have a cause and we can help in any way, visit us at and tell me how.

July 5, 2004

What are we doing to our world?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rajiv Badlani @ 3:33 pm

I just read an article Rob Crilly and Emma Newlands wrote for The Herald in Scotland about a whale that was washed up on the Hebridean coast. Its stomach was filled with plastic bags.

More evidence that plastic bags are playing havoc with life as we know and love it. A recent survey found scraps of plastic inside 96% of seabirds tested.

Marine creatures mistake plastic bags for food such as jellyfish or squid.

Dr Dan Barlow, head of research at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “It’s quite clear that plastic bags are a pollutant in their own right, and not only do they use a lot of resources in their production, but also because of the way they’re disposed of.

“The fact that a lot of marine life is being affected by plastic bags shows that we really need to levy some sort of plastic bag tax if we are to save resources and help the environment. The sooner this happens in Scotland the better.”

A plastic bag tax of about 15p introduced in Ireland in 2002 has cut their use by 90% and reduced litter.

Research revealed at the weekend also suggested that many seabirds were being turned into living dustbins.

The study by Dutch scientists of fulmars, gull-like seabirds which nest around Britain’s coast, showed that 367 of 382 birds studied had ingested plastic waste.

About a million birds and 100,000 mammals and turtles are estimated to become entangled in marine rubbish around the world each year.

Surface-feeding species of bird, such as albatrosses, shearwaters, petrels and gulls, are the most susceptible to eating debris.

An autopsy on a Minke whale in France in April 2002 found just under 1lb of plastics in its stomach, including two English supermarket plastic bags.

A leatherback turtle washed ashore in Scotland in the 1990s showed that it appeared to have died from starvation caused by plastic and metal litter blocking its digestive tract.

What makes this most tragic is how easily avoidable this is. All we need to do is to carry cloth bags with us when we go shopping (leave a few in the car, have a depository at all our local shops, there are many solutions).

Most humans have no concept of the scale of this problem. Now that you’ve read this, I hope you will stop using plastic bags from this moment. If you’d like to take a little initiative to encourage your friends to also do so, write to me, I have a method to suggest.

June 28, 2004

Would you have a bag manufacturer make a tent for you?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rajiv Badlani @ 3:31 pm

Winning a customer’s trust is what makes it happen for us.

Clearly, the folks who run the Bahrain Exhibition Center were happy with the bags we’ve been doing for them so when they had a need for a colossal “tent” for a major event, they chose to discuss it with us.

From fabric selection to fireproofing to fabrication, we enjoyed the challenge of dealing something totally new for us. Finding ways to communicate all the zillions of variables with our customers was also an exercise that gave us learning and joy. We had a few anxious moments, but Sanjiv manages to make the most challenging manufacturing issues look simple and do-able.

But the real joy came when they told us they were thrilled with the result and sent us a link to their event website

Thank you Cheryl and Klaus from all of us at Norquest. Thank you for your confidence in our abilities.

Got a challenge for us, anyone? We will enjoy working with you.

June 14, 2004

Little guys need to brand too…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rajiv Badlani @ 1:48 pm

Branding is essential for the little guys, too says Michael Schwarz in USA TODAY.

But when you read this, pay special attention to what he says in his last para. People eventually judge you by what you do, not by what you claim.

And (see if your behaviour contradicts what you’ve claimed all your advertising looks like one big lie.

Perhaps a new marketing mantra ought to be “Make sure you don’t have any Weapons of Mass Destruction type fantasies in your marketing story. The harder you hype, the harder you fall!”

Anyway, on to Michael’s very insightful points:

Q: We hear so much about branding these days, but it really seems like a big business concept. Do you think branding is something that applies equally to small businesses?
Hugh, Manitoba, Canada

A: I most certainly do. First, let’s be clear about the concept. Gene Simmons, lead man of the rock band Kiss once remarked that while he liked being in a rock and roll band, he loved being in a rock and roll brand. What did he mean by that? Think about Kiss for a moment. What images and feelings come to mind? Probably that distinctive Kiss logo, the white makeup, the outrageous shows, the wild stories. Kiss carefully cultivated that billion dollar bad boy image and it’s worth a fortune to them. That is what Simmons meant; having a band is great, but it’s the brand that pays the bills.

What do you think of when you think about Rolls Royce, or Nike, or Apple Computer? Each business evokes very clear thoughts, feelings, and images. They all have a strong corporate identity, or brand, associated with their name, and it is no accident. These companies have spent a lot of money getting you to conjure up specific images and feelings when you think about their business.

So the idea of creating a brand for your business is really quite important. While it might seem that creating a brand is beyond your reach, that branding is a concept for the “Big Boys,” think again. Branding is something you can, and must, do too.

Here’s why: Boiled down to its basics, a brand is the essence of what makes your business unique. It combines your name, logo, and purpose into an identifiable whole. Are you the friendly lawyer, the holistic market, the geeky computer consultant, or what? Without a brand, you may find that instead of being all things to all people, you are nothing to no one. A brand is a hook to hang your hat on, so that people remember you, which is probably more important to a small business than anyone else.

You begin to create a brand by carefully thinking about what your business is, what makes it unique, who your customers are, and what it is they want. Deciding upon a brand is vital because many other decisions will hinge on this one. Your name, logo, slogan, even the location you choose and your pricing structure depend on the brand you are trying to create. A discount motorcycle warehouse will put things together far differently than a Harley showroom.

You want to create a consistent theme through your ads, pricing, logo, etc. which reinforces the image you intend to create.

But branding goes even beyond that. Since your brand is based both on how you want to be perceived, and how you are in fact perceived, it follows that the other half of brand building is creating positive perceptions based on substance as well as style. How?

1. Discover what you do best and do it, again, and again, and again: A brand is a promise which essentially boils down to: ‘If you buy from us, and you know what you will be getting’ e.g., Volvos® are safe or Atkins® helps you lose weight. The key is consistency.

2. Offer superior customer service: All your hard work creating that cool brand will be a waste of time and money if it isn’t reinforced by happy customers. Customers should find it easy to work with you or buy from you.

3. Be a mench: Mench is a Yiddish word that basically means “a good person.” If your business practices mench ethics, your brand grows. While good looks may get you a date, being a mench will get you a mate. Pay invoices on time. Do more than asked of you. Do things when not asked. Help out in the community. That also builds your brand.

Remember, the two keys to establishing a strong brand are developing a specific identity, and then communicating that identity consistently. Do that, and your small business will have a hook that is memorable.

Today’s tip: Warning! You cannot get by on brand alone. That is the lesson of the dotcom fallout. Take for example. That high-flying startup burned through multiples of millions of dollars, mostly because it focused far more on branding than it did on business. Its once-famous sock puppet was interviewed by People magazine and was on Good Morning America, but the company soon learned that creating an identifiable brand is not the same as creating a valuable business.

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