REUSABLE/RECYCLABLE/ECO BAGS: Facts and Misconceptions

When it comes to reusable bags, there are a lot of misconceptions. They might come from general misinformation, lack of reputable sources, or the fact that the word 'eco' is an easy selling point we seldom question.

Here at Ango Promotions, we've been producing reusable bags for the past 4-5 years and from our experience, we've observed some alarming trends.

Plastic bags are made from fossil-based petrochemicals that are thrown away in the trash, or end up in oceans, causing the death of tens of thousands of sea birds every year. The paper bag is not an obvious solution either. First of all, paper bags are not very reusable, and their heavier weight uses up to seven times the fuel consumption in transportation when compared to plastic bags.

So what is the solution?

There are a few solutions, none of which are 100% bulletproof. One is the biodegradable cotton canvas bag, which is perhaps not the most economical or fashionable option, and also has some branding limitations. For the last few years, the most favorable and economical solution adopted by many major brands has been the non-woven PP bag, with its vivid colours and surface laminations. Non-woven fabrics are made directly from separate fibers or from molten plastic or plastic film made from recycled plastic bottles. This type of bag is not only reusable, but it's made out of collected plastic bottles that would otherwise cause environment hazard on our fragile environment. It sounds like a win win for all, but not quite.

As the artwork gets more complicated with vivid full color printing, so does the possibility of the ink containing a high amount of lead or banned heavy metals like copper and resin. Cheaper, conventional inks contains pigments made out of lead and metals that carry the color particles. The brighter the colour, the more lead it contains. Of course, there are alternatives like vegetable based inks and so forth, but who is really asking when they see a really low price, lower than the competition? We do ! Here at Ango Promotions, all factors are considered. We don't just ask what ink is used for the main artwork printing, but also what ink is used for the fabric dying.

A couple of years ago, we were introduced to a Green Procurement initiative by one of our clients, and since then, we've adopted this approach to all of our products bearing the Ango stamp. We don't just ask questions, but offer testing through SGS, one of the most recognized international laboratories. In addition, we only work with factories that have a recycling program in place for the left overs and chemicals used. This took years of research and numerous visits to offshore factories to implement.

As for the last thought: Ask the right questions, and remember the cheapest solution isn't always the best solution in the long run.



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