Many different types of shopping bags exist today—in our ever-evolving, changing world, the needs of the consumer dictate which variety of bag is the most convenient, quick and affordable.


The most popular bags are the plastic and paper variety. Plastic bags are made of non-renewable resources, with the main ingredients used to make up the bags being petroleum and natural gas.


Plastic grocery bags have been used by consumers since the 1960s and are a durable bag that can carry heavy loads. It is estimated that one trillion plastic bags are used by consumers every year worldwide, with 102 billion of those being in the United States. To put this into perspective, almost two million plastic bags are used globally every minute.


Due to modern technology, we have become more conscious of our effects on the environment. Plastic bags, which cannot be recycled at most recycling facilities, are a huge factor in the pollution of the Earth’s oceans, rivers, streams and grasslands. Even highways and motorways are flooded with debris from the high-load capacity bags. This is why some cities and countries throughout the world have begun a crusade against plastic bag use.


Ireland became the first to implement a plastic bag tax—in 2001, the country’s market-based solution aimed at preventing “daily, thoughtless use of plastic bags by charging a nominal fee per bag at checkout.” Since then, the Irish government discovered plastic bag use had dropped by 93.5 percent.


In April 2007, San Francisco became the first US city to ban the use of single-use plastic bags in retail outlets, paving the way for more and more cities to follow suit.

 

  • 2008: China places a ban on plastic bags, saving 6 million tons of oil a year.
  • 2012: San Francisco’s plastic bag ban passed in 2007 goes into effect.
  • 2012: Boulder, Colorado, adopts a bag ordinance in November, requiring grocery stores to charge 10 cents per plastic or paper bag.
  • 2012: Honolulu, Hawaii, effectively bans total use of plastic bags.
  • 2013: Austin, Texas, ban goes into effect in March, completely banning single-use plastic and paper bags in all business establishments.
  • 2014: The Dallas City Council approves bag ordinance in March. Legislation includes a five-cent charge for every single-use plastic bag in retail stores.
  • 2014: The city of Chicago passes a ban in April for retailers of more than 10,000 square feet, with the ban extending to smaller retailers in 2016.



Many other major countries, such as Rwanda, Taiwan and Macedonia, have a total ban on single-use bags.
Legislation regarding plastic bags comes in many forms, but generally falls into three categories:

 

  1. Discourages the use of plastic bags by charging customers a small fee per bag.
  2.  Bans supermarkets and hypermarkets from giving away single-use plastic bags, but allows small-format “Mom & Pops” to continue their use.
  3. Total ban on all plastic bags, which impacts all retailers including restaurants and fast-food chains.



Why Now?


New revelations in the field of science have found that plastic bags negatively impact the Earth’s environment. A modern-day automobile can travel 36 feet on the amount of petroleum it takes to make just one single-use plastic bag. Not only do single-use bags pollute our waterways, but they block drains and kill birds and livestock.


The World Wide Fund for Nature states that “plastic garbage…is often mistaken for food by marine animals. High concentrations of plastic material, particularly plastic bags, have been found blocking the breathing passages and stomachs of many marine species, including whales, dolphins, seals, puffins and turtles.”


Banning plastic bags with the proposal to replace their use with reusable, recycled shopping bags has already shown a direct and positive impact on the environment. Denmark’s plastic bag tax, which was implemented in 2003, saved 66 percent of plastic and paper bags. Records in 2014 showed that Denmark now has the lowest plastic bag use in Europe, with just four bags used annually per person. “The average U.S. family accumulates 60 [lightweight] plastic bags in just four trips to the grocery store.”

 

Possible Solution to the Plastic Bag Problem


Both biodegradable and reusable bags use “less materials, generate less CO2 (a greenhouse gas), consume less energy and use less water when sufficiently reused,” a study by the Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority stated.


Typically, biodegradable bags, as well as their heavyweight plastic counterparts, have a lifespan of two years or 100 uses, and can then be responsibly, and easily, recycled via the appropriate recycling channels.
Ivie and Ivie Asia specialize in the production of these reusable plastic and biodegradable bags. With single-use plastic and paper bag bans becoming more and more popular as the environmental effects are brought to light, Ivie can offer solutions that are both cost-effective and more environmentally responsible.
Studies show that U.S. retailers spend an estimated $4 billion annually on single-use plastic shopping bags. Recently, experts have begun deliberation on whether or not banning single-use bags will negatively impact the economy, both locally and globally. Research done by the Equinox Center in Encinitas, California, tells us that although a small negative impact may be in store for economies in the short-term, long-term benefits far surpass any dissenting outcomes.


San Diego, where a potential plastic bag ban is in the works, “stands to reduce single-use bags by 86 percent—an annual decrease of 348 million bags” in just that market alone. “The Equinox Center found that local economies, including affected retailers and their customers, are not harmed in the long term. Two of the largest cities with reduction ordinances…reported no sustained negative economic impact to retailers after enacting the ordinances.”


The Equinox Center study goes on to say that “plastic bag reductions are likely to eventually benefit the economy and save taxpayers and cities money. The city of San Diego most likely will experience savings through litter abatement,” or plastic bag cleanup. The study also noted that “positive economic…effects could occur alongside the projected increase in consumer spending associated with decreasing product costs by retailers.” This means that, as retailers spend less on plastic bags, their customers will benefit from the retailer’s cost savings.


Ivie’s Reusable Shopping Bags

DSC_0974
Ivie’s reusable bags include inexpensive, heavy polypropylene bags that serve as multi-use bags—this means that they can be used repeatedly without ripping or tearing. The construction of reusable bags is sturdier, so despite being made of the same basic materials as a plastic bag, they are able to be reused as much as 100 times or more. This means less waste, and fewer single-use plastic bags piling up in landfills.


Other options include biodegradable bags made of canvas, jute, 100 percent cotton and other organic fibers. These will not only sustain over 100 uses, but they will break down naturally once thrown away.


Specifically, Ivie’s China Printing Solutions is a proven provider for bulk reusable grocery bags within the U.S. and internationally. Through Ivie’s worldwide network of manufacturers and suppliers, we are able to offer fully customized solutions to meet consumers’ specific needs.

DSC_0994



Our reusable bag format comes with an array of options to fit specific market requirements, including insulated bags, folding bags, standard, large and custom-sizes, canvas, jute, thick plastic and synthetic bags, and 100 percent non-woven polypropylene. In a study funded by the American Chemistry Council, it was discovered that there may be “microbes hitchhiking in your reusable bags.” Ivie also manufactures washable fabric bags that reduce the risk of food borne diseases.


The type of bag chosen by consumers directly correlates to active legislation in their respective residences. Because of Ivie’s ability to produce a large variety of bags that are capable of adhering to any number of specifications, we now have a valuable, affordable product that can be mass-produced and distributed internationally to retailers and consumers.


Each reusable polypropylene bag can eliminate hundreds, even thousands, of single-use plastic shopping bags, and Ivie is protecting and restoring our environment by remaining on the cutting edge of reusable bag technology and offering the best possible solutions at the lowest possible price.

DSC_1002