Plastic Bag Ban 101: How To Find Alternative Sustainable Bags And Packaging

By Gil Rolon on April 11, 2023

A woman grocery shopping with a reusable bag because of plastic bag bans.

If you follow the news, you know that plastic bag bans have become an important topic in recent years. No matter your industry, bans on single-use plastic bags will likely impact how your business operates if they haven’t already. 

We’ll cover what plastic bag bans are, how they affect your business, and what sustainable packaging and environmentally friendly alternatives you can find to comply with regulations.

What Are Plastic Bag Bans? 

Plastic bag bans are laws that restrict the use of plastic bags at retail stores. The bans stem from concern over the effects of single-use plastics on the environment. 

While plastic bag bans are not new, having started in some countries as early as 2002, they are becoming more common as today’s consumers are more eco-conscious and are holding brands more accountable.

With the change in consumer awareness, plastic bags not only began to fall out of favor in the US and globally, but also environmental movements were started that champion solutions from sustainable printing options to plastic bag alternatives.

How Do Plastic Bag Bans Affect Your Business?

While some question if plastic bags should be banned, restrictions on plastic bags will inevitably affect most people. 

Restaurants, department stores, retail stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, delis, and even businesses like dentist offices and spas that provide a thank you item will be affected by the plastic bag ban, as they must comply with plastic bag legislation.

Currently there are eight states that have banned single-use plastic bags at retail stores: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon and Vermont. In some locations where single-use plastic bags are not banned, a plastic bag fee has been implemented.  

It is likely that additional bag bans, or imposed use fees, are to come.

Plastic bag bans may pose a challenge for your business. For example, there may be a financial impact if the replacement bag costs more. Or, there may be a delay in obtaining the new bag if that bag has a longer production lead time. We understand the challenges that complying with a plastic bag ban can create.

If you are looking for an affordable way to provide your customers with an eco-friendly, branded option that does not necessarily create a burden on your budget, Safeguard by Innovative’s team of experts can help. 

Modern consumers care about sustainable packaging. Show your customers your business is environmentally conscious by considering green alternatives to single-use plastics. 

Partner with Safeguard by Innovative to provide multi-use bags at various price points that represent your brand well and fit your budget. Whether you need heat-sealed tote bags or nylon/cotton/polyester bags, get your brand noticed and remembered (while being eco-friendly and complying with regulations and laws).

Finding Sustainable Packaging & Green Alternatives

1. Paper Bags

Paper bags are a good alternative to plastic because they are biodegradable and easier to recycle. You may get less use out of them than a polyester reusable bag, but unlike polyester reusable bags, brown paper bags are compostable.

2. Polyester Reusable Bags

Polyester reusable bags tend to score highest on the eco-friendly scale. Their biggest drawback? You need to remember to bring them with you to the store and use them.

3. Other Green Alternatives

Not all alternatives are necessarily better. Cotton bags, for instance, need to be used at least a thousand times to have a smaller environmental impact than plastic bags.

Other alternatives show more promise. Nylon bags are lightweight, durable, and waterproof. Jute bags, a coarser but stronger alternative to cotton, have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years in the form of burlap totes. Jute bags are also biodegradable and 100% compostable.

Safeguard by Innovative will help guide you to the custom reusable branded bags that are right for your business and budget.

Bag Requirements To Keep In Mind

Now that we have covered the basics, let’s look at some bag requirements for your business. Remember plastic bag bans are not universal, so look for local guidance on single-use plastic regulations in your area.

Businesses may provide reusable bags if they meet the following requirements:

  • Made of nylon, cotton, cloth, polyester, or another material that is specifically designed and manufactured for multiple reuses.
  • Made of plastic–but not through a blown–film extrusion process, more than 2.25 mil thick, and specifically designed and manufactured for multiple reuses.

Businesses may provide paper bags if they meet the following requirements:

  • Contain at least 40 percent post-consumer recycled content.
  • Contain no old-growth fiber.
  • Prominently display:
    • The word “recyclable” or “recycled content,” denoting a recyclable bag.
    • The percentage of post-consumer recycled content.
    • The manufacturer’s name.

No More Plastic

Plastic bags are becoming a thing of the past, like it or not. As more research surfaces on the effects of plastics on the environment, scientists continue to link plastic bag usage to environmental degradation.

It’s not just the bags themselves. Because most plastics are not 100% biodegradable, they photodegrade instead. In other words, they produce microplastics and chemical toxins that leach back into the environment.

Is your business doing its part by finding green alternatives?

Sustainability In Business

It’s no secret that finding alternatives to single-use plastics is an essential step for any business to take in order to modernize and appeal to an increasingly environmentally conscious consumer base. 

Finding the right alternative sustainable packaging materials for your business shouldn’t be a headache. At Safeguard by Innovative, we guide you to the right custom reusable bags for your business’ budget, goals, and needs. 
Plastic bag bans are probably here to stay. Don’t fall behind the times. Find alternatives to plastic bags that are customized to your brand.

Need help finding the right custom reusable bags for your business? Contact us today to get started.