July 2, 2019

How The Printed Bag Shop Is Achieving A Plastic-Free Product Range


Plastic, particularly single-use plastic, is harming our planet – it’s something we’re all aware of, and trying to do better with. Our oceans, beaches, forests and the wildlife that live within them are being damaged every day by the plastic (and other waste) we throw away, and it’s up to all of us to do something about it.

At The Printed Bag Shop, we’re very aware of our level of contribution to the problem. Plastic bags have, up until recently, been one of our bestselling products for a long time. They’re low cost, fairly quick to produce and have been a popular choice with all kinds of retailers for years.

We’re not the only company supplying these bags, but for the past year or so (and moving forward), we’re working hard so that we can eventually boast a product range that is free from plastic entirely.

Whilst the demand for plastic products has dropped massively in recent years, they’re still a popular product with lots of our customers. But, we are gradually phasing out our plastic offering and finding new, greener products to replace them so as to help minimise the impact that our printed bags are having on the planet, as well as give you, our customer, the recyclable and eco-friendly products that you want for your brand.

Here’s the steps we’ve made so far towards becoming a plastic-free printed bag shop:


Bye Bye Vest Bags


Plastic vest bags are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to environmental damage from carrier bags – hence why they’ve seen the biggest crackdown in terms of government legislation, with the carrier bag charge seeing them pretty much disappear from supermarkets and the high street.

They’re single-use, and so low cost that they are produced in massive quantities. Rarely being reused, they’re often thrown in the bin once our shopping is home.

Despite still seeing some demand for this product, we decided to remove it entirely from our range – and did so last month.


Nylon Duffle, Rather Than Plastic


Another plastic product that we’ve supplied for years is plastic drawstring bags. You know the type – often seen in sports shops, they are a school PE bag staple. Being made from a much thicker plastic than something like vest bags, they’re a major culprit in terms of length of time it takes to biodegrade.

So, we’ve swapped these out of our product range and replaced them with printed nylon duffle bags. These are a fabric drawstring bag option, and are extremely durable and long lasting. Whilst plastic duffle bags are often used multiple times, they tend to be given out or sold as single-use bags; with nylon duffle bags, these are a product built to last, and can be used over and over for the gym, school, uni, PE, sports, or for an outdoor trip.


Unlaminated Bags – The Luxury Recyclable Option


Our top selling product is, without a doubt, luxury laminated bags. The upmarket feel plus freedom in customisation makes these bags a hit with everyone from events planners, to fashion retailers, to healthcare providers. Laminated bags are a fantastic product, and are made of paper rather than plastic – but, the coating that is used to give them that luxury laminated look means that the bags are not recyclable.

To tackle this, and provide a luxury option that is much more eco-friendly, we have introduced unlaminated kraft bags. These are natural kraft bags with rope or ribbon handles, and can still be made in custom sizes and print spec. The best thing about them? If you go for our unlaminated bags with a cotton handle, they are 100% degradable and 100% recyclable.


Printed Tape, Now Available In Paper


Printed tape is a fantastic way to increase brand awareness and add a little extra something to your parcels and packaging, but up until now, we have only offered a plastic vinyl option. But not any more!

We recently launched a paper tape option – and, the adhesive used on our paper tape is made from natural rubber, making the tape itself fully biodegradable. Now, every inch of your branded packaging can be that little bit greener!


More Affordable Cotton Tote Bags


With plastic and single-use bags becoming less popular over the last couple of years, we’ve seen the sales of printed cotton bags increase as a much more reusable and long lasting alternative. Customised tote bags are a fantastic option to give away or sell to customers as an individual product, especially when printed with an innovative and eye-catching design, because they’re a bag that people will hold on to and use over and over again.

To make printed tote bags are more achievable choice for our customers, we have a minimum quantity of just 100 bags, and have lowered the price on that quantity too, making them more affordable than ever.


Paper-Based Postal Products


E-commerce is growing, online retail is growing – and therefore, so is the demand for printed postal products.

We currently supply Co-Ex plastic mailing bags. They’re a brilliant, high quality product, but again, are made fully from plastic and not reusable at all.

We’ve experimented with supplying paper mailing bags in the past, but have struggled to make this work for our customers in terms of sizing, minimum quantity and lead time. However, we are currently looking into new options which will mean we can bring this product back, and supply a printed paper mailing bag that is as durable and effective as the plastic variety, but much more eco-friendly.

As well as a paper mailing bag option, we’re also very excited to be launching a range of custom printed cardboard postal boxes soon! A fab way to enhance the customer experience via an online sale, printed boxes are also a method of getting your products to buyers without sending more single-use plastic out into the world.

Keep your eyes on our website and social media channels to see when we launch these new postal options!


We Know That Plastic-Free Doesn’t Mean Perfect


The above is just the start; the first wave of changes we’re putting in place to make the business of printed bags and packaging viable without it being at the expense of our environment. Eliminating plastic products from our core range is the biggest and most impactful way that we can improve the impact we have as a company whilst still being able to show up and deliver for our customers.

But we know that plastic-free doesn’t necessarily mean better, and definitely doesn’t mean perfect. Yes, we’ve moving more into the paper product space – but that takes its toll on our planet too. As explored in this blog, the manufacturing process of paper products is harmful in its own way, but it’s the lasting effects of plastic bags on our future that we’re trying to minimise.

Plus, as well as rethinking our product range, we’re looking at how we can make changes internally too. A couple of examples include starting to use paper products for sending out samples and other items to customers, eliminating plastic cups from the office water cooler and integrating paperless systems into our process wherever possible.


Let us know – what do you want to see from companies in this crucial time for our climate? What changes are you making yourself to go a little greener?