Are you looking for a fun and stylish way to be sustainable while creating memorable branding for your customers? If so, eco-friendly tote bags are your answer.

Tote bags, grocery bags, shopping bags, or any type of reusable bag are the trend in today’s market. With customers becoming increasingly aware of their carbon footprint and the impact traditional packaging can have on the environment, businesses must now adjust to meet these sustainable initiatives. Reusable bags cater to sustainability, but many more benefits make this type of packaging a must-consider.

In this guide, you will learn everything you need to know about this sustainable option so that you can confidently create your own tote bag and do your part to protect the environment!

Example reusable shopping bag design

Benefits of Reusable Bags: Why Should You Use Them?

There are many reasons why your business should consider reusable bags. As mentioned above, reusable customized grocery bags offer various benefits that promote a healthier environment and have many ways to help your business. But since the environment is one of the main reasons for adopting these bags, let’s delve into that first.

1. Promotes an Eco-Friendly Initiative

Sustainability is the first and foremost thought regarding reusable bags, but how does using reusable bags help the environment? Well, the primary objective of environmentally friendly reusable shopping bags is to reduce and reuse.

 By reusing shopping bags, you can drastically reduce the amount of single-use plastics contributing to global pollution. Plastic is one of the most significant environmental problems, so reducing its usage will show your company’s commitment to sustainability.

But are reusable bags recyclable?

The answer is complicated. You cannot typically recycle reusable bags. Consumers can’t just throw reusable bags into the recycling bin when they are old and worn. These bags can contain various materials, some recyclable and some not. Proper infrastructure and programs, such as WalMart’s blue bag recycling program, are required to recycle these bags appropriately. Still, reducing and reusing far outweigh recycling, as it requires additional energy to dismantle, re-manufacture, and redistribute.

2. Provides Functional Benefits

Aside from sustainability, the functional benefits are another reason to switch from single-use to reusable bags. Reusable bags are more durable and longer-lasting and can be designed for various purposes that cater to different packaging needs, which provides a better overall experience for customers.

3. Great Marketing, Promotion, and Brand Visibility

Furthermore, custom reusable shopping bags are a cost-effective way to give exposure to your brand at a relatively low cost. With a logo and branding on your bags, customers become a source of mobile advertisement for you! ASI’s Ad Impressions Study shows that a reusable bag can get an average of 1940 impressions over its lifetime, with 43% of consumers stating that they would keep and use a reusable bag for at least two years. 

Not only can reusable bags help with advertisement, but they can also help reinforce brand recognition with consistent exposure and allow for unique promotional opportunities through events and trade shows that will further boost brand awareness.

4. Differentiation and Competitive Edge

Eye-catching bags featuring uniquely branded designs also guarantee that you will stand out in the market. By offering such a high-quality bag to customers, you are setting your business apart from competitors who commonly use generic, single-use bags.

Don’t believe us? ASI’s Ad Impressions Study also revealed that 26% of consumers would be likelier to do business with a company that gave them a logoed bag!

5. Boosts Customer Loyalty and Engagement

The above benefits naturally lead to our final benefit: a boost in consumer loyalty and engagement. By providing a functional, aesthetic, and eco-friendly bag that stands out from other competitors, you encourage customers to choose you. These reusable bags are guaranteed to build a positive image of your brand and strengthen customer loyalty by aligning yourself with sustainability while boosting your brand’s personality through great bag design.

Benefits of reusable bags vs plastic bags

Types of Reusable Bags

With all the amazing benefits offered by reusable bags, it’s almost a given that companies should adopt this alternative to the traditional single-use bag. We mentioned the functional benefits provided by reusable bags, and this extends to the fact that there are many types to choose from, each with its own unique style and strengths. Below are some of the most popular types of bags.

  • Tote Bags: The classic reusable bag. They come in various sizes, are sturdy, and aesthetic. Tote bags give ample room for consumers to carry anything from groceries to books.
  • Drawstring Bags: As the name suggests, these bags provide drawstrings for easy closure to prevent items from falling out. Drawstring bags make excellent giveaway items and can be used by consumers for everyday activities like gym use.
  • Foldable Bags: These bags have creases that allow for easy storage and transportation when not in use. Custom foldable reusable grocery bags are a perfect alternative to traditional plastic bags.
  • Insulated/Cooler Bags: These bags have thermally insulating materials or refrigerant gel that helps maintain an item’s temperature. They keep cold items cold and hot items hot, making this type of bag perfect for foods and beverages.
Types of reusable bags

Features for Customized Reusable Bags 

Along with the different types of bags you can choose from to fit your unique needs, each bag can also have additional customizations that will further boost the quality, functionality, security, and value in the eyes of the consumer. These features include things such as;

  • Zippers
  • Inside Pockets
  • Buttons
  • Ropes
  • Straps
  • And more!
Reusable bags customization and features

Printing and Design for Tote Bag Surfaces

Choosing the type and features for your bag is all well and good, but the real fun and customizability begin with printing. Printing turns a generic bag into a piece of branded art that will set you apart from competitors.

But, not all bags are made equal, and not all printing techniques are the same. Determining how to print on tote bags comes down to factors such as time, budget, intricacy design, and what materials your bag is made of. Thankfully, several printing techniques cater to specific needs that might arise.

  • Screen Printing: The most common method for printing on reusable bags in large volumes. This technique works on most materials and is perfect for simple and bold artwork of logos and messages. Higher-detailed or multi-colored images would benefit from another printing method since this printing process involves layering colors one at a time.
Example of screen printing reusable tote bag
  • Digital Printing: Digital printing is great for smaller runs and allows you to get intricate designs and vibrant colors. However, it may not last as long as screen-printed designs. Furthermore, this printing technique is not suitable for synthetic bags. Digital printing requires the application of heat during the printing process, which may cause the synthetic materials to melt.
Example of digital printing reusable bag
  • Embroidery: Embroidery adds a touch of premium luxury to your bag. It excels in creating excellent aesthetics but has limitations regarding more intricate and complex designs. Simple is the way to go with this printing technique.
Example of embroidered reusable bag
  • Puff Embroidery: Puff embroidery adds a three-dimensional effect by using materials like foam to raise the stitching off a bag’s surface. It works best with simple blocky texts or shapes.
Example of tote bag with puff embroidery

What Are Reusable Bags Made Of?

As we mentioned earlier, not all bags are made equal. The materials you choose will affect not only the print finish of your bag but also its overall look, feel, and sustainability. 

The first thing you need to understand when deciding the materials for your bag is the difference between woven and non-woven. Woven fabrics are materials laced together for extra strength, puncture resistance, and durability. Non-woven fabrics are produced by bonding the materials without weaving, making them cheaper and softer.

To better understand what you should use, we will cover the main benefits and disadvantages of some popular woven and non-woven materials you can choose from.

Reusable Bag Materials: What are reusable shopping bags made of
  • Cotton: Cotton is a woven fabric that is widely available, strong, durable, soft to the touch, and great for printing. However, cotton is not moisture-resistant without chemical treatment and is prone to shrinking and wrinkling when machine-washed.
  • Jute: A woven natural plant fiber that is biodegradable and compostable. Jute is naturally durable but does not lend well to moisture unless chemically treated or laminated. Additionally, jute tends to give off a grainy texture, limiting printing to thick or bold lines.
  • Hemp: Hemp is one of the earth’s longest, strongest, and most durable woven fibers, several times stronger than cotton. It is soft to the touch and actually gets stronger with frequent use! The downside of hemp is that it is not readily available in the US and can be expensive.
  • Canvas: Reusable canvas tote bags can be made of several different types of fibers, such as cotton, linen, or hemp. Canvas is a highly durable, eco-friendly option that also lends well to printing. However, they require more maintenance to clean than other options and may shrink or fade if machine-washed.
  • Polypropylene: A non-woven form of plastic. Polypropylene is low-cost, chemical resistant, and very durable while also being recyclable. However, polypropylene is still a type of plastic, making it significantly harmful to the environment.
  • Nylon: Nylon is a synthetic polymer used to create non-woven fabrics. It is strong, water-resistant, durable, lightweight, and folds easily for storage. However, being a petroleum-based product makes it less eco-friendly than other material options.
  • Polyester: A form of plastic polymer typically used for non-woven fibers. It is a versatile material resistant to water, mold, and crinkling and folds easily for storage. However, like polypropylene, it is a type of plastic that harms the environment.
  • Recycled Material: Recycled materials for reusable bags can be a blend of many fabrics, like hemp or polyester. They are a strong and durable option that contributes to a circular economy. However, as mentioned earlier, recycling such materials uses a lot of energy, which can create even more pollution. Reduce and reuse are the name of the game for reusable bags.

How to Implement Reusable Bags For Your Business?

Bags are standard in everyday life, and you don’t need to look far to see how reusable bags can be incorporated into your customers’ daily routines. Bags are everywhere, whether used by gym regulars, those who need groceries for the week, or those who need something to carry their books from the library.

With custom reusable shopping bags, you can tap into this everyday need while benefiting the environment and your business! Offering reusable bags in grocery or retail stores is a common way to implement reusable bags, but these bags can also serve as giveaways for events, promotions, or even holiday gifts.

The Beloved IKEA Frakta Bag

One example of a company that implemented a reusable bag is IKEA. IKEA’s iconic Frakta bag is a huge, durable, and recyclable bag in a simple bright blue with yellow zippers and a logo to match IKEA’s brand colors. 

With simplicity, practicality, and sustainability in mind, IKEA created a reusable bag that benefits consumers, its business, and the environment in one fell swoop.

IKEA Frakta reusable bag
Source: IKEA
IKEA Frakta reusable bag close-up

Get Started With Custom Reusable Shopping Bags

Reusable bags are a stylish and practical first step any business can take towards sustainability. But with the many available options, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and lost with how to get started. So, if you’re looking for a partner to help guide you through your journey, PakFactory can help.


Everything Custom Packaging

Learn everything you need to know about packaging here at PakFactory's Packaging academy.

pakfactory blog logo white

PakFactory’s blog is your go-to academic resource for everything you need to know about custom packaging. Our topics range from packaging tips to inspiration to help businesses kickstart their packaging project.

Get notified of new packaging tips on our blog!

©2023 PakFactory Inc. All Right Reserved.

Verified by MonsterInsights