Natural Foods Merchandiser

Sack those groceries in sustainable style

As retailers and municipalities begin to prohibit environmentally hazardous plastic shopping bags, naturals shoppers are leading the movement toward reusable versions. But just because your customers are focused on saving the planet doesn't mean they have to forgo fashion. Forward-thinking designers are transforming the mundane canvas satchels of yesteryear into stylish accessories for shoppers of all tastes. And for an added bonus, they're incorporating fair-labor practices and recycled materials. To help your shoppers avoid crimes of fashion, look into carrying a couple of hip shopping sacks. Here are The Natural Foods Merchandiser's top picks for carrying groceries in style.

For those with more simpler, ChicoBag makes practical, uncomplicated grocery sacks, but offers them in nine different colors. So whether your shoppers prefer an earthy brown or an eye-catching pink, you've got them covered.

From groovy graphics to cute kitsch, Blue Q bags are popping with pop-art appeal. Made of lightweight, durable woven polypropylene with a reinforced floor, they'll stand the test of bulky cans and produce.

Gecko Traders works with the Fair Trade Federation to create employment for disabled and disadvantaged workers, recycling brightly colored Asian commodity sacks into hip grocery totes.

JP Monkey takes style just as seriously as you take groceries. With sophisticated textiles and even a touch of masculinity, these made-in-the-U.S. bags make smart accessories. Plus, the company contributes a percentage of profits to environmental-education programs.

Want a reusable bag that reflects your store's image? Pop Packaging and Bags Go Green offer personalized sacks that can feature your choice of colors and logos. Bags Go Green applies fair-trade principles, and Pop Packaging uses recycled polypropylene fabric.,

Who could resist a shopping tote decorated by the hip illustrator of the best-selling French Women Don't Get Fat (Vintage, 2007)? Stylized designs by R. Nichols are screen-printed on sacks made of 100 percent recycled materials so your shoppers can "do their part" in style.

Bag forgetfulness: Help shoppers remember their totes

How many of your shoppers get all the way through the checkout line only to realize they forgot to bring their reusable bags? Lisa Foster, founder of 1 Bag at a Time, has several hints to help them remember next time:

  • Buy a bag that's beautiful or brightly colored—you're more likely to remember a bag if you're excited about how it looks.
  • The car trunk is a great place to stow reusable bags—they're always handy.
  • When you get into the car to head to the grocery store, take the bags from the trunk and place them in the seat next to you, since you're more likely to be distracted and forget to retrieve them from the trunk when you arrive at the store.
  • Write 'reusable bags' on your shopping list so you'll be sure to remember.
  • Add a cloth bag to your mental list of "things I can't walk out the door without," along with keys, wallet and sunglasses.


BYO motivation

Do your shoppers need a little extra push to dump their plastic-bag habit? Try this:

  • The average American uses 300 to 700 plastic bags per year.
  • Most grocery bags are made of high-density polyethylene, a byproduct of oil and gas refining that emits greenhouse gases during its manufacturing process.
  • Though HDPE recycling programs exist, only 0.6 percent of plastic bags are recycled.
  • A Canadian study estimated that at least 100,000 marine animals are killed annually by littered plastic bags.
  • The petroleum used to make 14 plastic bags could fuel a car for a mile.

Source:, www.onebag?

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