Numerous cities across the county are banning the use of the very thin retail plastic bags that are usually seen in grocery and drug stores while others are levying taxes on their use.  Reasons behind this ban appear to be two-fold.  First is the impact upon the environment to manufacturer bags such as these.   And, second is the cost of picking up, disposing of and recycling the bags.  As a result the popularity of promotional totes and bags has actually increased with most consumers developing the habit of bringing their own reusable bags with them when shopping.  Promotional totes are a low-cost item that delivers phenomenal return on investment with numerous impressions over a lengthy period of time.

Alternatives to the single-use plastic bags include paper shopping bags, euro totes, non-woven totes, insulated totes, cotton (organic and conventional) totes, mesh bags and drawstring backpacks.  Imprint methodology has been growing rapidly for the past few years making full color imprinting almost as economical as the standard spot color screen printing.  And, for larger orders with ample lead-time, all-over printing and complete custom bag design are more affordable than ever.

Recently, University of Vermont (UVM) has become the largest public institution in the US to ban sales of single-use plastic water bottles, and they have joined a growing list of colleges that have similar on-campus policies.  And, further to this end, UVM has converted many campus water fountains to bottle-filling stations.  As of March 2013 there were 22 private schools that had enacted single-use water bottle bans as students take action against the fossil fuel resources being used to produce and transport such bottles.  Supporters of these bans cite that up to 80% of plastic water bottles are never recycled which result in an excessive waste of resources and harm to the environment.  In addition to these colleges and universities, some communities and municipalities are enacting similar bans.  Concord, MA began enforcing a plastic water ban at retail stores.

Obvious alternatives from a promotional perspective are refillable water bottles, tumblers and mugs.  As these single-use bans become more prevalent, bringing one’s own water bottle will become as commonplace as going to the grocery with reusable bags.  Organizations providing practical promotional products like these will reap the benefit of keeping their message at the fore front of their audience through everyday use and appreciation.

Please contact TheMarketPro when you are considering promotional products and decorated apparel so that we can provide the information you need to make the best possible purchasing decisions.  TheMarketPro can be reached at 800-905-0073 or .  Additional articles can be found at in our “Going Green with Promotional Products” and “Coffee Break Reading” sections.


  • McKenna, Colleen, “Who Holds the Purse Strings?”, Promotional Marketing, February 2013, 22-26.
  • “University of Vermont Bans Single-Use Water Bottles”, Counselor, Advertising Specialty Institute, March 2013, page 35.


Author:            Connie King

Published:       May 2013


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