We know how much you care about your product’s packaging, and we know that you have gone to great lengths to make sure your packaging speaks to the integrity of your company and your products.
But before you buy your retail packaging, make sure you know the legislation surrounding paper and plastic bags in your state.
As more and more focus is placed on protecting the environment, and with the knowledge that paper packaging materials have created over 1.5 million tons of waste, state laws regarding packaging continue to evolve. The great bag debate continues to rage, and there’s still two sides of the fence when it comes to that question “plastic or paper.” Are you up to date? Read on to make sure.
States That Have Enacted Plastic Bag Legislation
Essentially, most legislation surrounding plastic bags mandates that recycling efforts must be made by retail stores using plastic bags, including providing a recycling receptacle clearly at the front of a store. Generally, the legislation also strongly encourages shoppers and stores to advocate for reusable bags, and may require plastic bags to have a message printed on them that encourages shoppers to recycle.
If you’re ordering plastic shopping bags in the following states, make sure your bags follow the letter of the law, as the states listed here have enacted or adopted some form of the above-described legislation regarding the use of plastic bags:
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- Washington, D.C.
*adopted vs. enacted
Please Note: You can find a more exact explanation of the specific legislation within each state by reading the text of the National Conference of State Legislatures in full.
What You Need to Know About State Laws that Ban Plastic Bag
It’s also important to be aware that many states are considering banning the plastic bag altogether. That said, there is a lot of misinformation out there, but sites like Ban the Bag are gaining increasing social and political traction, so if you are hoping to better understand the impact packaging has on our environment, doing some research is always a good idea.
And, if you’re in any way concerned that your state may soon ban a plastic bag, perhaps considering reusable bags or paper options would be a better fit for you.
Here’s a list of states that, as of March 30, 2016, were pursuing and/or advocating for legislation that would ban plastic bags:
**Recently passed legislation banning plastic bags
What You Can Do
If you use plastic bags currently in your store or for your products, don’t worry: you have options. Mid-Atlantic Packaging sells a wide variety of eco-friendly plastic bags – and we of course have a huge selection of multi-use packaging options like our non-woven, jute, and reusable canvas bags. It’s our job to provide you with all the packaging options out there!
But if you’re concerned about your environmental impact, encouraging your customers to reuse their shopping bags for other purposes is a great way to do your part. And just think, if you use custom shopping bags as your packaging, customers will basically be a walking billboard for your brand!
Another option is to have reusable bags available for purchase so customers can forgo the bag altogether if they purchase one of the reusables you sell (think: Trader Joe’s). You can even promote that you’re selling them at cost so customers really get a sense of your green business model. Not only will customers likely use your totes around town, many will also take notice of and appreciate that you are clearly aware of how your packaging impacts the environment.
And if you’re set on ditching the plastic completely, now may be the time to make the switch to a paper shopping bag option, most of which are also easily customizable. If budget is a big issue for you right now, and you just can’t currently afford a customized bag option, that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the marketing opportunities that customizing your packaging has to offer. Why not buy a smaller customizable item, like a bow, some tissue paper, or even a gift tag to stick on the bag?
Whether you’re ordering custom shopping bags with logo prints, are switching bags because you want a better fit for your products, or you are transitioning from boxes to bags, it pays off to make sure you’re aware of the laws surrounding packaging in your state.
Of course, if you have any further questions, feel free to contact us, or even pick up the phone and call your local legislator to make sure you’re following the law in regards to plastic bags in your state. Don’t be intimidated by the laws – just make sure you know how they can influence your packaging options.
(Please Note: To ensure we are giving our readers the most accurate information possible, we have used the most current information as of September 2016, found on the National Conference of State Legislatures’ website as our main source for this post. Please also note that any information regarding legislation in this post is not intended to and should not serve as any legal counsel or advice).