The History of The Shopping Bag: Part One – Reusable Bags

The History of The Shopping Bag: Part One - Reusable Bags

Coming Full Circle

Reusable bags have experienced a surge in popularity lately. However, reusable bags are nothing new. Reusable bags have gone through many changes and improvements over the years and the latest version has a lot to offer. Let’s learn more about the history of reusable bags and why these bags are so in demand today.

What Are Reusable Bags

Reusable bags are essentially any type of heavy-duty bag that can be used again and again. Durable materials and construction methods ensure these bags hold up against demanding use. The general design features a main compartment and dual handles; although, the design can be specialized.

Reusable shopping bags may feature pockets to store a shopping list, or keys or a phone. Shopping bags may also feature a reinforced bottom or can be made from insulated material for added convenience when toting home groceries. Bags intended to hold wine or other beverages can even feature dividers to keep bottles from clinking into one another.

Background of Reusable Bags

People have always had a need to carry items, so reusable bags have been around in one form or another for a long time. Around the time of the Industrial Revolution, people became less self-sufficient and began to shop for more and more items. As people began to do more shopping in stores, it was common for customers to either carry parcels wrapped in paper by hand or bring their own bags to carry items home.

Inventive retailers started to create flat paper bags, but the design wasn’t very accommodating and the manual assembly process was cumbersome. In 1868, Margaret Knight invented a machine that could cut, fold and glue flat-bottomed paper bags. Knight patented her machine and went on to establish a company that manufactured the now ubiquitous flat-bottomed paper bag.

Not long after the invention of the paper bag, retailers began to stock paper bags to give customers a way to carry their purchases. Eventually, single-use plastic bags became common and with the availability and convenience of both paper and plastic bags, many shoppers simply stopped bringing their own bags.

Recent Uptick in Popularity of Reusable Bags

In the early 2000’s, as consumers began to reject disposable shopping bags, reusable bags started to become more common. There has been an even more significant increase in use in the last decade. At one point in 2007, reusable bags even became a sought-after fashion accessory.

Plastic is bad for the planet and many consumers view reusable bags as an eco-friendly alternative to single-use bags. Some retailers even encourage their customers to bring their own bags, because it helps the store’s bottom line. Retailers save money when shoppers bring their own bags. Many stores even offer a discount of a few cents for each reusable bag a customer brings.

Many brands prefer custom reusable bags because they make excellent promotional products. The reusable nature of the bags provides plenty of opportunities for shoppers to put the company’s branding message on display. The eco-friendliness of reusable bags also aligns with any green goals or initiatives, helping brands merge marketing, transparency, and authenticity.

Eco-Friendly Characteristics

Several features make reusable bags eco-friendly. First, simply by eliminating the use of single-use plastic bags, reusable customized bags reduce trash and litter; helping communities as well as the entire planet. The material used to construct the bags also contributes to the eco-friendliness of the bags. Fabrics made from recycled content or sustainable fibers are green and can be recycled or even composted when the bag has fulfilled its usefulness.

Create Your Own Legacy

Do you want to learn more about custom reusable bags? We’re here to help. Factory Direct Promos has been in the business of creating customized reusable products for almost 30 years. In that time we have learned a lot about how to streamline the process to save money and time. We extend this savings to our customers, to help enable you to get the most from your marketing budget while also going green and providing your customers with useful promotional products. Stick around to learn more about the history of shopping bags in the second and final installment of this series.

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