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November 2010
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Plastic, Paper, Reusable, Biodegradable, Free or 5-cents

The world has changed and many companies are changing with the times but some just don’t get it.  We all know that plastic bags aren’t good for the environment as millions of bags end up in landfills every day.  With more focus on being responsible to our planet, consumers and companies are both faced with making decisions on how they behave.

As consumers, many people are changing habits and thinking twice about using bags.  We have many choices:

  • Say no to a bag and pack your items in to your backpack, pockets or purse
  • Buy reusable bags – many grocery stores sell these for $1 to $3 each
  • Use paper bags  – while not perfect, it may be better than plastic
  • Buy premium reusable bags – many companies such as http://www.reuseit.com have a great selection of reusable bags, I have a dozen Reuseit Workhorse Bags and highly recommend them.

As companies, many have been faced with business decisions to stay the same or change.

  • Some grocery stores still pass out plastic bags as though nothing has changed.
  • Some have taken a stance and decided not to use plastic bags at all – they prefer you bring your own reusable bags but they do offer paper bags if you forgot.
  • Some stores have started offering biodegradable bags that naturally break down.
  • One business offered a new brown paper bag that actually had handles, they worked great but must have been expensive because they were shortly discontinued.
  • One major department store tells you that if you want a bag it costs an extra 5 cents.  I spent $400 on a new coat and I can’t put it in a bag without paying extra?  Sad that some companies choose to hide behind a cause when all they are really doing is cutting costs to increase profits.  Tisk tisk.  It must be hard on the loss prevention department with people walking around the store with items in their arms and then just walking out the front door – did they pay for those or not?
  • Go to Lululemon, which is obviously an environmentally aware company and they give you a great quality reusable bag with your purchase that you can reuse again and again.  Sure, some of you may say that I spent $100 on a piece of technical clothing and they can afford to throw in a bag.  I disagree and instead say congrats to Lululemon for taking a stance and leading us where we should be lead. When you get your Lululemon bag, it feels good, it impresses you and it leaves you feeling good about the company you just gave $100 of hard earned money.  Maybe somehow it even makes you feel as though you can do more to be a responsible member of life on this planet.

Are you going to pay attention to your customers and the environment?  Do you care about how your customers see your company?  Do you know how you do business will affect your business?  I like Lululemon a lot and appreciate their leadership in showing others how to behave – both environmentally and from a good business standpoint.  Many of us show our appreciation through our loyalty and repeat business.

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