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Cheap Reusables  
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Drowning in reusable bags? Share your extras with those in need!
By RUI
4/5/2013 10:59:00 AM  

Bags-for-the-people Congratulations, you switched from disposable to reusable bags, reusing and upcycling the few you still end up with. Doesn't it feel nice to not have plastic bag monsters jumping out at you from underneath the sink? But wait - now you're being attacked by reusble bag piles from inside the closet!

Hopefully by now we've convinced you to say no to those cheap reusables every grocery store is pushing for 99 cents and to instead use a handful of high-quality reusable bags to do your shopping. But even the most careful shopper probably has a few bags that never seem to leave the house or car. What can you do to keep those from ending up in your recycling bin? Donate them!

Bags for the People accepts reusable bags (and other fabric), and repurposes or redisctributes them to those in need - because greener living shouldn't come with a price tag. Bags for the People also offers sewing workshops for kids and seniors, offering creative solutions to waste and economic disadvantage. Check out their site for more info on how to donate.

For more clever ways to put your extra bags to use, check out this post from TreeHugger.


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She loses it over reusable bags
By RUI
4/3/2013 3:13:00 PM  

Boston.com, 04.17.08 Bostonglobe_envirosax 

If you're a certain type of person, it's not enough that your reusable grocery bag holds groceries. It must also establish your style. With designers getting in on the action, a Self magazine headline sums up the challenge: "Look chic at the farmers market." 
Statistics on reusable-bag production are hard to come by, but when I asked Vincent Cobb, founder and president of reusablebags.com, if the solution is becoming part of the problem, he didn't hesitate a moment.
"Absolutely," he said, explaining that some are made so cheaply they fall apart after a few uses. "They are becoming more of the junk."

Link: She loses it over reusable bags


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An Inconvenient Bag
By RUI
4/3/2013 3:12:00 PM  

The Wall Street Journal  09.26.08Cheapobags_6

It’s manufactured in China, shipped thousands of miles overseas, made with plastic and could take years to decompose. It’s also the hot “green” giveaway of the moment: the reusable shopping bag…

But well-meaning companies and consumers are finding that shopping bags, like biofuels, are another area where it’s complicated to go green. “If you don’t reuse them, you’re actually worse off by taking one of them,” says Bob Lilenfeld, author of the Use Les Stuff Report, an online newsletter about waste prevention.

Our Take:  This article starts out good enough -- detailing how retailers are jumping on the ultra-trendy green bandwagon, often without questioning the sustainability of these cheap reusable bags. (Ironically, cheap or free reusable shopping bags do nothing but fuel mindless over-consumption, which is at the heart of the plastic bag problem...) 

But then things go south. 

Unfortunately, the article makes it sound as if people are incapable of changing habits & remembering to bring their bags with them (quoting a very low number from a PB industry person, no less!). Bringing reusable shopping bags is no harder that doing simple things like remembering to turn off the lights when you leave your house (or water when you're brushing your teeth) – comparing it to taking 30 sec showers is extreme. The closing quote, from a woman buying a silly $45 bag from London, reinforces the stereotype that all reusable bags are trendy and impractical, and further clouds the waters. 

To date, we've awakened millions and empowered 160,000 customers – all with simple practical products and tips to reduce plastic and paper bags – the flood of testimonials we get gives us solid evidence they're experiencing powerful transformative results. Reusable bags don't have to put fashion before function or be festooned with a cheesy "I'm so green" eco-slogan. There are basic, practical choices available that are being used day in and day out that do indeed make a difference. Trendy options at both ends of the spectrum are not the solution – and thankfully, far from the only choice.

Link: An Inconvenient Bag

Link: Slideshow


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Lead in reusable bags? Get the facts.
By RUI
4/3/2013 3:09:00 PM  

cheap bags
Dear Customer,

In light of the recent New York Times article regarding lead content found in cheap reusable shopping bags (e.g. 99-cent, non-woven polypropylene bags), we would like to address some common concerns and dispel rumors and misconceptions.

Bags from Winn-Dixie, left, and Publix were found to contain lead.  Image from Tampa Tribune (Cliff McBride)

A brief summary of the issue 

  • An investigation conducted by the Tampa Tribune found high levels of lead in a handful of cheap reusable bags. A similar stroy from USA Today reported dangerous levels of lead in bags sold by Walgreens, Safeway and Bloom.
  • These reports have generated massive media coverage, fueling lots of misconceptions regarding the safety of reusable bags in general, especially those made in China.
  • This issue comes down to the problems inherent in cheap reusable shopping bags, which we've been bringing to light for years.

If you've purchased bags from us or recommended them to a friend, here are a few facts:

  • We have never carried the types of bags referred to in these reports (cheap reusable bags with printing on them).
  • Just because a bag is "Made in China" does not mean it contains lead or is in anyway unsafe. Many reputable brands we carry (including Envirosax, Flip & Tumble, BAGGU, ChicoBags and our reuseit line) manufacture bags in China using high-quality, safe materials.
  • At reuseit.com, you'll find safe, high-quality bags manufactured safely & responsibly all over the world. If you've purchased bags from us, you don't have anything to worry about.

Our basic advice & learn more

As always, be selective! Buy a handful of high-quality, "everyday" reusable bags that you will use for years and years - from a company you trust. That way, you'll know they're responsibly made, built to last and use high-quality materials (unlike cheap reusable bags).

Additional resources:

If you have any questions or concerns, contact us at service@reuseit.com.

Sincerely,

Vincent Cobb - Founder, reusablebags.com and reuseit.com

Update: This story recently resurfaced thanks to a report from the CCF uncovering unsafe levels of lead in cheap reusable shopping bags sold by Walgreens, CVS, Safeway and more. Find out who's behind the studies in our post Who is the CCF & what's their beef with reusable shopping bags?


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reuseit founder on Fox Business News
By RUI
4/3/2013 3:07:00 PM  

Fox screen grab 1Last week our company founder Vincent Cobb appeared on Fox Business News with Tracy Byrnes. Tracy's first question alluded to a plethora of cheaply made reusables she and her kids, like many people,  have accumulated. It was the perfect opportunity for Vince to reiterate what we've been saying for years - just say NO to cheap reusables.

Tracy: "I have three kids so I have more water bottles than I know what to do with... They have dozens of them."

Vince: "People are accumulating a ton of these reusables - a lot of them really cheap, freebies and things like that... our advice to people in general is to get a handful of really high-quality reusables that you can use for years and years. And resist the urge to take these freebies and promotional items."

Watch the full interview here. About four minutes in Vince demonstrates why cheap reusables are bad news for your wallet, and for the environment by punching a whole through a giveaway bag with just one finger.

Fox screen grab 2


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Who is the CCF & what's their beef with reusable bags?
By RUI
4/3/2013 3:06:00 PM  

BermanRecently, several reports have surfaced revealing unsettling lead content in cheap reusable bags sold by many major retailers. We've never carrried the non-woven polypropylene bags featured in the reports, and quickly responded with facts you should show about reusable shopping bags.

We feel it's important to understand where these reports are coming from, and it didn't take much searching to find out who was behind the most recent alarming studies - the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF). 

So who is the CCF? From Wikipedia:

CCF was set up in 1995 by Richard Berman, executive director of the public affairs firm Berman and Company, with $600,000 from the Philip Morris tobacco company. Berman told The Washington Post that CCF is now funded by a coalition of restaurant and food companies as well as some individuals; according to the group's website it is supported by over 100 companies and thousands of individual consumers. Sponsors are reported to include Brinker International, RTM Restaurant Group (the owner of Arby's), Tyson Foods, HMSHost Corp, and Wendy's.

CCF has campaigned against a number of organizations, such as the Centers for Disease Control, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and maintains several websites devoted to criticizing them.

According to a story on GreenTech, "In a press statement CCF senior research analyst J. Justin Wilson says 'retailers were goaded into selling these bags' by environmentalists." The result, he went on to say, is an increase in cheap, and possibly unsafe reusables flooding the market.

While we agree that the popularity of cheap reusables, namely 99 cent shopping bags, inevitably does more harm than good, we have to question the motives behind the CCF study.

So what's the good news? In that same story from GreenTech,  we were sited as a source for reusable bags "made of safe, and recycled materials."

Check out our previous post about lead in reusable shopping bags.

Read more about the problems associated with cheap reusable bags.


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Cheap reusable bags are a bad deal
By RUI
4/3/2013 2:48:00 PM  

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports: "Along with the reusable water bottle and the swirly compact fluorescent lightbulb, the reusable bag has become an emblem of the environmental movement. As such, it will no doubt be a major giveaway at Earth Day events across the nation."

This Earth Day we're reminding you to consider the true cost of those low-quality Earth Day freebies - many of these items typically end up sitting in closets and cupboards, or they wear out with little use. Check out the full article to read what our company founder Vincent Cobb has to say on the matter.

For more on the high cost of cheap reusables, check out our mythbusting article


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