By Adriana J. Noton

There’s no secret to anyone that regular plastic bags are harmful to the environment. More and more, shoppers are bringing in their own reusable ones into all different types of stores, or simply choosing not to receive a bag at all with their purchase. Many retail store owners might find that fact to be a benefit, as they can save on the cost, but not providing a “green” solution yourself may do more harm than good. The first problem using plastic ones creates is with the reputation of your business. You may be saving money because fewer people are using them, but they’re also talking about how you give out plastic ones and are hurting the environment. Another way that a customer not taking those hurts is that your store bags are a valuable marketing tool that isn’t being utilized if they aren’t being used. The bag is a prime spot to showcase your business name and logo, location, phone number and website address. If fewer bags are out and about, less people will see your name.

One solution to the plastic bag dilemma is to start using biodegradable plastic bags. The benefits are great for the environment. It will just disintegrate into the soil once they are discarded, and they solve the reputation and marketing issues. Biodegradable ones can be manufactured so they’re just as strong, so your customers won’t notice any difference in terms of quality. Using biodegradable ones also provides several other benefits.


Aside from helping your business, you can feel good about using biodegradable plastic ones because of all of the environmental advantages. If these aren’t recycled, they will be absorbed into the soil at the landfill instead of just lingering and hanging around forever. Plastic bags made from biodegradable plastics are also a renewable resource because they’re made from organic compounds. These may include parts of trees, plants, grass or even tissue like animal fats.

With regular plastic bags, oil is typically used in the manufacturing process, so using biodegradable plastic ones help reduce greenhouse gases and carbon emissions long before they even find their way into your store at all. Just making regular plastic bags adds to the pollution in the environment. Less overall energy is used to produce biodegradable plastic bags, which means you can actually order twice as many for the same amount of energy output.

Since biodegradable plastic bags are made from all natural products, the toxicity commonly associated with regular plastic isn’t an issue. The breakdown of a regular plastic bag releases harmful chemicals and by-products into the soil, but this won’t happen if you offer biodegradable ones. The recycling process for them is even more efficient and effective than a standard plastic bag. Less energy is required and the plastic may be reused in a more efficient manner. If you do decide to switch to biodegradable plastic bags, remember to let your customers know in the store and on your website that this is the case.

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