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Are Plastic Bags Hurting Your Business?

plastic bags bad for businessThe new trend in retail shopping is offering shoppers reusable bags. These bags, while retailing anywhere from $1.39 to $15, are supposed to make shoppers opt not to use the conventional plain-old plastic bags. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that store owners are piggybacking on their consumers' empathy for the environment to make their businesses seem more eco-friendly. As one angry shopper says: "I'm supposed to pay the retail store more money so that the store can claim that it cares about the environment?! Hmm...seems like the store doesn't REALLY care about the environment. I mean if it truly cared, wouldn't THE STORE incur the extra cost?"

This problem has many consumers frustrated with this new trend of reusable bags. One can certainly understand stores that want to advertise their environmental awareness to their customers, but it seems ironic to make them pay for it. The closest analogy would be retailers requesting customers to incur extra charges for merchandise that hasn't been produced as a result of child-labor, and then claiming that their store is socially conscious about abolishing child-labor; If you want the child-labor shoes it'll cost you X but if you want the non-child-labor produced ones that'll cost you 2X. Does that seem like something that would "fly" with shoppers today?

A novel and very different approach came from the Swedish furniture giant IKEA; it charges its consumers an extra 5 cents per plastic bag, donating their proceeds to the American Forests conservation program. Some retailers, such as Whole Foods, discount their shoppers' bill if they bring their own bags. Both lines of thinking are more favorable with consumers, since they cater to a win-win-win for all sides: consumer, store promotion, Earth.

But many businesses don't feel that charging their consumers for plastic bags will help, nor is it the right way to go. Fighting against is never good. Going along with is always good, only doing it in a manner which benefits all. Biodegradable plastic bags are exactly that solution for businesses that want to stay eco-friendly, but don't want to get their consumers irritated at having to pay the price for it.

Biodegradable bags allow the consumers to maintain their previous manner of shopping while not harming the environment in any way. Since they are made from plant derivatives, they actually get devoured and feasted upon by microbes and micro-organisms, and in a reasonable time - around 1-2 years, versus the regular plastic bags which stay around for hundreds and even thousands of years. These biodegradable plastic bags have once been thought to be extremely expensive - almost 4 times as much as conventional plastic bags, but recent technological advances have helped ease the prices, making them more affordable for businesses such as clothing stores, organic food stores, health food stores, and other retailers.

As the environment-conscious trend rises, many businesses are gradually switching to biodegradable plastic bags, since they are eco-friendly, affordable, and actually good for the environment.