4 Reasons Shop Owners Are Still Reluctant to Let Go of Plastic Bags

Jun 22

We as humans can’t seem to get enough of plastic. While the one-time plastic bags usually garner the most criticism, there are plenty of other plastic products we use every day. From plastic food containers to toys made from hard plastic, our addiction towards this man-made material is undeniable. There has been a lot of talk about banning one-time-use plastic bags. Countries like Bangladesh have done it successfully, while others are still contemplating the economic repercussion of banning plastic bags. Shop owners and businesses are commonly blamed for buying branded custom carrier bags in bulk and then giving them away to customers. While environmental activists fight for a complete plastic ban, the answer may not be that simple. Following are 4 practical reasons why plastic bags are still used by large big-box stores we well as local grocery shops.

It Affects Business: While brown paper bags may be cost-effective for businesses, they may not be the most practical choice for customers walking home with their purchases. However, not offering any kind of bag can negatively impact a business, as many customers rely on stores to provide carrier bags for their convenience. For some, the availability of cheap plastic bags is a significant factor when choosing where to shop. As long as there is demand for affordable carrier bags, it is unlikely that shops will stop offering them. However, an alternative solution to address environmental concerns and customer preferences could be retail businesses, especially grocery stores, embracing the trend of home delivery. With the help of grocery fulfillment services, businesses can deliver goods directly to customers’ homes, reducing the need for on-site carrier bags altogether. This shift towards home delivery not only provides a more eco-friendly option but also enhances the overall shopping experience for customers.

Paper Bags Usually Cost a Lot More: Paper bags are often offered as an alternative to plastic carrier bags. However, people who make that argument often forget why plastic bags replaced paper bags in the first place. Paper carrier bags are not as sturdy and they are prone to water damage. Therefore, giving out unlaminated paper bags during rainy seasons is not really an option. To top that off, paper bags are also significantly more expensive than plastic bags. They are also not that environmentally friendly as they are often touted to be. Manufacturing paper causes a significant amount of water and air pollution. Paper production also requires cutting down of trees and it demands more energy. This means if we replace plastic with paper, we might have to deal with a whole new set of environmental threats.

Lack of Commercially Viable Alternative: Like pointed out in the previous section, paper bags are not really a viable alternative to plastic carrier bags. Most biodegradable plastic bags available in the market are so expensive that it doesn’t make sense for store owners. Some environmental conscious store owners now offer reusable carrier bags made from cotton or jute. However, because they are significantly more expensive they cannot be given away to customers who make small purchases.

A Lot of Stores Are Invested in Recycling Programs: A lot of stores have recycling programs in place. This involves taking used plastic bags from customers and then recycling them to make new ones. All the major \ retail chains have storefront recycle bins for their customers where they can deposit old plastic bags. Considering these stores are already spending on raising awareness about their plastic bag recycling programs, it doesn’t really make sense for them to stop using plastic bags altogether.