Eco-Friendly Tote Bags
[caption id="attachment_873" align="alignright" width="300"] Non-woven polypropylene is a popular, sturdy material for eco-friendly bags[/caption] Did you know that the average American goes shopping 2 to 3 times every week? A recent study showed that 70% of women use promotional tote bags when they go to the grocery store. Additionally, disposable plastic and paper grocery bags are disappearing from everyday use as more stores encourage the use of reusable items. With so many options, how do you choose? The common grocery tote is really not as simple as it seems. It is especially important to be aware of the basic differences to what often appears to be the same product. For example, something that looks like the exact bag on a computer screen but having a significant price difference usually comes down to the composition of that bag. Here are the key differences to consider: 1. The overall dimensions. Even if the height and width are the same, is the depth/gusset the same? A bag with an 8" gusset would carry considerably more than one with a 6" gusset, just based on the larger girth. What about straps? How long does the customer want it to drop when carried? [caption id="attachment_872" align="alignleft" width="300"] These re-usable shopping bags tuck into their own small pouch[/caption] 2. The WEIGHT of the fabric. It is easy to compare the differences in quality and price from a natural canvas bag vs a nylon bag; it is not the same animal. But what if we are talking about the same non-woven polypropylene material (most grocery totes are made of this material)? The key differentiator will be the weight of the fabric. They will typically range in weight from 70GSM to 110GSM (Grams per Square Meter of fabric). The higher that number, the thicker the bag and the more it can handle. 3. The structure of the handles. Do the handle straps go all the way down and across the bottom of the bag ( giving it significantly more structural integrity ) or do they merely attach at the top rim of the bag? Those simply attached at the top are more likely to break when the weight it is bearing is higher. 4. Stitches per linear inch and cross stitching. Essentially, the more stitches at the contact points like handles and rims, the stronger the bag. Two bags, one with 3 stitches per inch vs another with 6 stitches per inch: the latter will make that bond stronger. Then, at stress points, like the top of the tote, where the handle meets the bag, is there a cross stitch or "X" up at that top 1-2" area? The cross stitch will add even more strength to the bag. 5. The "floor" of the bag. Is it just that same bag material and all one piece vs having an insert sheet of plastic or covered cardboard? Basically, is there a second piece that keeps the bottom flat and reinforces the distribution of weight and makes the bag even stronger? [caption id="attachment_874" align="alignright" width="300"] Canvas shopping bags are biodegradable and have a great natural feel[/caption] There are more nuances but these are the most common areas of differentiation. It really is important to know these main areas of variation in order to determine if the totes in question are really created equal after all. Options include recyclable bags, biodegradable bags, bags made from pre-consumer or post-consumer recycled material, and bags made from organic fibers. Popular choices include cotton canvas, jute, nonwoven polypropylene, and rPET, which is made from plastic bottles.