Saving our planet; one bag at a time

November 5, 2008

I welcome Obama’s victory for change

Filed under: Environment — Tags: , , , , — Kaajal @ 5:58 pm

This election in the US has been an eye opener to the world. The usually sleazy world of politicking appears to have given way to decency and hope.

Over the last 8 years, America had developed an image of an arrogant selfish nation completely oblivious to basic human values. Run by an old boys’ club devoted to serving the needs of the biggies.

I was one of the few who still insisted that the average American is a sincere, well meaning and progressive human being. But with Iraq and the shenanigans of Wall Street and the financial and oil companies, I was beginning to have doubts whether that good constituency had any say in what America was all about.

But this morning all my good feelings about America came back. To have elected a coloured man who is also an outsider to the Washington establishment as President has established Americans as easily the most progressive thinking people in the world.

I was thrilled to see Barrack Obama’s first speech after he was clearly the winner. America is going to have a leader who is a decent human being, a thinking man, open minded, mature and a man who seems to think calmly and with a humane dimension.

This will lead America to greater glory and allow it to lead the world out of the mess it was quickly getting into. I suspect the old boys’ network will have their influence substantially curtailed.

It was equally heartening to see McCain’s graceful concession speech. I wish our politicians would learn some grace instead of spewing venom all the time, expressing and causing hatred amongst our people.

Clearly we have a long way to go towards become a “civil” society. I’m glad America will now be able to set an example.

Barrack Obama also looks like a guy who takes environmental issues seriously and I suspect we will soon see some progress towards curtailing the use of the trillions of plastic bags Americans use and throw away.

November 3, 2008

Witty, colourful and practical, the reusable shopper is today’s slogan T-shirt

Filed under: Environment — Tags: , , , , — Kaajal @ 5:13 pm

Britain has really picked up on using reusable bags. This story by Alice Fisher from a recent issue of the Guardian suggests that using plastic should become like wearing a fur coat - something that makes you embarrassed. And it is happening. Up and coming new designer David David says ‘The shopper is a billboard and a status symbol, it’s perfect merchandise.’ 

The new It bags

Witty, colourful and practical, the reusable shopper is today’s slogan T-shirt. Alice Fisher on why ethical consumers and trendsetters are all fans, by Alice Fisher  

It’s weird to think of a supermarket queue making a difference, but that’s what happened last year when a line formed outside Sainsbury’s for Anya Hindmarch’s ‘I’m not a plastic bag’ reusable shopper. The queue convinced the supermarkets that consumers wanted action. It signalled mainstream acceptance of a green initiative: owning a shopper was cool as well as worthy. And at the height of the it-bag trend it showed the fashion world that you didn’t have to make a bag from exotic leather to cause a stampede. 

The shopper was the brainwave of eco movement We Are What We Do. Co-founder Eugenie Harvey had noticed a decrease in plastic bag usage in her native Australia and realised the same shift could happen here. But even she was surprised by how right she was. ‘Those women who queued at Sainsbury’s wouldn’t have gone into the streets and campaigned against plastic bags, but that’s what they did without realising it. Every time we use these shoppers, we’re creating the mood of what’s acceptable behaviour. Using plastic should become like wearing a fur coat - something that makes you embarrassed.’ The figures do show a change in mood. In August, the number of plastic bags handed out at Tesco was 40 per cent lower than for the same period in 2006 . Marks & Spencer saw an 80 per cent drop in the first 10 weeks after they started charging for plastic in May. 

It would be great if we’d truly experienced an eco-epiphany, but the success of the reusable bag is as much about style as saving the planet. Like T-shirts and badges, the square-shaped shopper is the perfect blank canvas for slogans, logos and patterns. Consumers who couldn’t give a toss about the planet love its fashion statement just as much as the green contingent loves its ethical credentials. 

At last month’s Fashion Week the designer shopper replaced the paper goodie bag at shows from Mulberry to Marc Jacobs. Fashion East, a London showcase for young designers, asked new talent David David to create theirs. ‘The shopper is a billboard and a status symbol,’ he says. ‘It’s perfect merchandise.’ 

It’s certainly the first bag taken up by pensioners and hipsters alike, and the green movement hopes there’s life in it yet. Eco entrepreneur Kresse Wesling created Sainsbury’s new reusable bag from used jute coffee bean sacks. 

‘I grew up in Canada,’ she says, ’so I love the shape of the brown paper bag [used to carry shopping in the United States]. That’s what we’ve made: a brown bag, double-wide, with a really long shoulder strap.’ 

Whether this new shopper will get consumers queuing through the night remains to be seen. But it’s safe to say that if the bag is pretty enough and useful enough, there’s someone out there just waiting to use it.

October 27, 2008

British villages show the way

Filed under: Environment, Happy customers — Tags: , , , — Kaajal @ 4:35 pm

Our “use and throw away” culture needs to change for real change to happen. What’s heartening is the kind of effort people are making.

Hopefully, plastic bags will soon be a thing of the past in a pair of Saddleworth villages.

Greenfield and Grasscroft Residents’ Association (GGRA) has persuaded local shopkeepers to ban free plastic carrier bags with the launch of a groundbreaking green-bag project.

Using funding from the National Lottery and Saddleworth and Lees Community Council, the group has produced 6,000 re-usable cotton bags which will now be sold in shops, schools and churches.

It is hoped the move will engage the 3,000 households in the area into changing from a ‘throwaway’ culture to one that is more aware of the harm plastic bags have on the environment and wildlife.

The money made from bag sales will feed back into the project to produce more bags and hopefully make the project fully sustainable.

If successful, Greenfield and Grasscroft will be the North West’s first plastic-bag-free community, and could inspire others to do the same.

GGRA has taken its lead from Modbury in Devon – Britain’s first plastic bag free town – which banned shopkeepers and traders from giving customers plastic bags.

The ‘Green Grass Bags’ feature artwork by children from primary schools at St Mary’s Greenfield, Greenfield School, Friezland and St Anne’s Lydgate.

On Friday, more than 100 residents packed Friezland Parish Hall to mark the launch.

MP Phil Woolas and Chris Davies MEP, both avid supporters of the project, both praised GGRA, saying campaigns such as the ‘Green Grass Bag’ could eliminate the menace of plastic pollution in coming decades.

There was also a presentation by 10 ‘eco reps’ from the four local primary schools involved in the scheme.

Secretary of GGRA, Mike Rooke, said it was hoped the project would serve as a pilot scheme for the rest of Oldham.

“Experience tells us that oaks grow out of acorns, and it’s best to start with a local project,” he said. “Our villages can help lead the way. We’re trail-blazing for an all-out borough attack on disposable plastic bags.”

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.

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