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Posts Tagged ‘carrier bags’

Tesco and Unilever help protect the rainforest

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Global brands, Tesco and Unilever, have both launched campaigns aimed at protecting the world’s rainforests and improving the sustainability of supply chains.

Tesco has announced a partnership with the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) entitled ‘Together for Trees’, which is designed to raise more than 1 million for rainforest projects worldwide. Money raised will be used to support the RSPB’s existing rainforest work, including projects in Harapan Rainforest in Indonesia, Gola Rainforest in West Africa and Centre Hills Nation Park in Montserrat.

The supermarket’s customers will be asked to donate to the scheme either directly or through the ‘green’ Clubcard points they clock up when re-using carrier bags or recycling printer ink cartridges. Tesco also hopes to donate £75,000 from the sale of Together for Trees reusable bags. Funds raised through the mandatory plastic bag tax in the chain’s Welsh stores will be handed over to RSPB Cymru.

Tesco has also announced plans to work with the RSPB to reduce the impact of its product supply chains on forest environments. This co-operation is expected to involve developing a new sustainable sourcing strategy for six tropical commodities that are commonly used in Tesco products – palm oil, beef, soya, paper, coffee and cocoa.

David North, Tesco UK Corporate Affairs Director, commented, “As a leading retailer, we also have a great opportunity to engage our customers to help protect our environment. We are proud to be working with the RSPB – the partnership reinforces our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and brings us one step closer to creating a greener future for our children.”

Meanwhile, Unilever has been announced a new target for making its Magnum brand the world’s first ice cream to source 100% of its global cocoa supply from Rainforest Alliance-certified farms by 2015. The FMCG giant already offers two ice cream products that are made using only Rainforest Alliance-certified cocoa – Magnum Ghana and Magnum Ecuador – but it now plans to speed up the introduction of certified supplies across all of its products. Unilever wants to ensure that 60% of its cocoa supplies come from sustainable sources by the end of this year, with the aim of delivering 100% certified supplies by 2015.

The Magnum commitment is the latest step in Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan, under which the company is committed to halving the environmental impact of its products by 2020.

EU-wide plastic bag ban divides opinion

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Experts are warning that proposals for an EU-wide ban on plastic carrier bags should be based on evidence and not simply political pressure. A ban may form part of proposals to be unveiled next month by the European Commission in its green paper on plastic waste. Many in the plastics industry fear that the document may bow to public opinion expressed in a recent consultation, in which 70% of respondents voted for an outright ban.

In the UK, an e-petition launched very recently to banish plastic bags has already attracted some 650 signatures and is backed by a number of high-profile figures. If the petition reaches 100,000 signatures, it will secure a debate in the House of Commons.

Many industry pundits argue that a ban will lead to an increase in use of alternatives to plastic bags, many of which are more damaging to the environment. Paper bags, for example, use the same amount of oil to make as a plastic bag, but are considerably bulkier to transport, adding to transport miles and increasing carbon footprint. It is also feared that banning single-use carrier bags will lead to people buying plastic bags – instead of simply reusing their grocery bags – for their compost, kitchen refuse and dog waste. Long-life bags such as cotton shoppers need to be used a number of times before they have a lower environmental impact, so it is a question of changing people’s behaviour.

Most retailers object to a ban, preferring a voluntary approach as in France, Germany, Portugal, Hungary and the Netherlands, where retailers have begun charging for plastic bags voluntarily. Italy implemented Europe’s first outright ban on non-biodegradable plastic bags at the beginning of 2011. Denmark, Ireland and Bulgaria charge a plastic bag tax, while Belgium applies a fee that goes straight to a plastics recycling firm.

Ban or tax for plastic bags?

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Last year, the European Commission’s public consultation on plastic bag use gathered over 15,500 responses. The results showed that over 70% of respondents were in favour of a ban on the distribution of plastic bags and the Commission is now considering its response.

Debates and votes on plastic bag use are increasingly common around the world. Countries, including China and Ireland, and cities, including San Francisco and Mexico City, have adopted bans or taxes in some form to curb the use of plastic bags. The issue is hotly contested in the US currently where, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans throw away 100 billion plastic bags every year – most of which end up in landfill sites.

Although reducing litter and minimising environmental impact is something every community should strive for, both plastic bag bans and taxes bring their own problems. Although bans and taxes lead to a reduction in the use of disposable plastic bags, the amount of pollution overall is typically unaffected.

When plastic bags are taxed or banned, many grocery shoppers turn instead to paper bags. While paper bags are green in the sense that they can be recycled, getting them to the store results in a higher carbon footprint. Being considerably bulkier and heavier, it typically takes almost seven lorries to deliver the number of paper bags that would fit in one lorry of plastic bags. This means that more fuel is required, resulting in more air pollution. Plastic bags can be recycled into oil, which can then be used for fuel, helping to mitigate the carbon footprint of delivering them to stores.

There is also the argument of convenience. Plastic bags quite simply have much higher functionality due to their low weight, compactness and relative strength. Ultimately plastic bags also take up much less space in landfills than bags made of alternative materials. For all these reasons, many people argue that a much better solution than a ban or a tax is to educate the public and encourage people to recycle more.

Northern Ireland to impose carrier bag tax next year

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

A tax on single-use plastic carrier bags of 5p is planned in Northern Ireland in 2013. The announcement was made last week by Environment Minister, Alex Attwood, who said that the tax would rise to 10p by April 2014. The proposals now have to go before the Northern Ireland assembly for approval before becoming law. Under the plans, there will be no charge for multi-use bags in 2013, although they will cost 10p the following year.

Mr Attwood commented, “There is no doubt that carrier bags are a scourge on the environment. Evidence from other countries demonstrates that a bag levy is a simple and effective means to reduce substantially the negative environmental impact of carrier bag consumption. A proposed 10p levy on single use carrier bags and lower cost reusable carrier bags can bring about significant environmental improvement. However I recognise that consumers will need time to change their behaviour and adjust to bringing their own bags when they shop. I therefore propose to discount the charge to five pence in the first year, when the levy will only apply to single-use carrier bags. This will ensure a phased approach to charging.”

The plans are being opposed by some sectors of the business community in Northern Ireland. In an interview with the BBC, Glynn Roberts of the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) said, “We are concerned that this is a tax on hard-pressed working families and will add to the burden of red tape, particularly for small shops who will become tax collectors for this new scheme. It’s unclear if it is intended to discourage plastic bag use or if it is a revenue raiser. It has to do one or the other – it can’t do both.”

The move follows a similar tax implemented by the Republic of Ireland in 2002 – which now amounts to 22 cents (18p) – following which usage of plastic bags in the Irish Republic fell by 90%. A similar scheme was recently implemented in Wales and has also significantly reduced the number of bags issued at the tills of retail stores.

Many environmentalists see the move by the Northern Ireland Executive as adding further pressure on David Cameron to introduce similar legislation for England. However, the efficacy of plastic bag taxes has been repeatedly called into question, as evidence from around the world suggests that their introduction results in rocketing sales of bin liners, suggesting that the genuinely ‘single-use’ carrier bag is a rare item indeed.

Printed Bags remain top promotional product in a recovering market

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

A recent report on the promotional merchandise market in the UK and Ireland over the past five years – produced by Sourcing City, a leading provider of information services to the trade – shows the effects of the global recession but indicates that the market is slowly recovering, with printed carrier bags fairing better than other products.

The largest effect of the world economic downturn was felt by the promotional merchandise market in 2009, when the sector’s revenue fell by over 26%. During 2010 and 2011, the market has grown slightly to some £754 million but remains about 15% smaller than in 2008.

The report also shows a slow-down in the number of distributor companies ceasing trading. The number of failures in 2011 was just 69, although the overall number of distributor companies in the market has remained relatively constant over the past five years, due to both brand-new start-ups and the number of ‘phoenix’ firms that have restarted to shed their debts. The number of supplier failures in 2011 was 59, the highest annual figure recorded to date. Since January 2006 the industry as a whole has seen 769 companies cease to trade, of which 540 were distributors.

The market review also shows little change in recent years in the top promotional product groups. Printed carrier bags continue to be the top revenue earner, followed by pens/pencils and plastic giveaways. Then follows clothing at fourth spot and mugs come fifth. Interestingly, USB sticks lost their position at number six during 2011, slipping back to ninth.

The carrier bag category continues to show growth in market share, increasing its proportion from 12.8% in 2009 to 14.3% in 2010 and 16.6% in 2011.

How to make QR codes work for your business

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

QR (Quick Response) codes are the becoming a popular marketing tool for B2C and even B2B brands. The early adopters of this technology included the USA and Japan but the UK is now among the world’s top 10 largest users of QR codes.

When scanned with a smartphone, these patterns can be used to redirect customers to a mobile-optimised website with virtually any kind of content. This means that they are a great way of providing the facility for instant information retrieval without the need for typing. Not surprisingly, many companies are now picking up on their potential in terms of promotional materials – including using them on paper bags, plastic bags and cotton bags.

For QR codes to be an effective marketing tool, however, companies need to think carefully about the experience that is offered to the user:

1. Inform the audience

Most smartphones don’t have a native QR reader installed, so you need to tell your customers that they can download an app that will allow them to read QR codes – many of which are free. Include details of these apps in your QR marketing campaigns.

2. Make it work!

There is no point putting a QR code in an in-flight magazine advert or on a poster in the underground network, where there is no WIFI or even a ‘phone signal! Also, don’t simply connect users to your website or company Facebook page – that’s just boring. Think about creating mobile sites, small downloads and content that can be accessed anywhere. Plan your QR content carefully; there has to be some incentive for users to scan – such as exclusive content, key product information or automatic data sharing. Remember, once a relationship is established, it is easy to add additional content such as discounts and special offers to build customer loyalty.

3. Keep aware

Set up your QR code marketing so that you can monitor it and change it easily throughout the campaign. Analysis software is available to allow businesses to see exactly when their QR codes were scanned, which were most successful and which media tools had the best return on investment.

Collections sold to pay for funeral of ‘bag lady’

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Family, friends and neighbours of a collector affectionately known as the ‘bag lady’ are planning to auction off her property to pay the costs of her funeral.

Carol Vaughan, who died recently at the age of 67 at her home in the Black Country’s Great Barr, had amassed a collection of more than 35,000 carrier bags, as well as 600 biscuit tins, 850 mugs and a Guinness World Record-breaking number of soaps. She had became a local celebrity and even recently appeared on ITV’s Daybreak programme, in the show’s ‘Collectorholics’ feature.

Despite her tendency to hoard unusual items – including also ashtrays, watches, cuddly toys and beads – she was not given to collecting cash and the executors of her will claim that there is no money to fund her funeral. Hence the sell-off of the thousands of items that she has collected over the years.

Carrier bag collector passes away

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

A prolific collector of carrier bags who was known affectionately as ‘the bag lady’ has died at the age of 67.

Carol Vaughan of Great Barr in the Black Country had amassed a collection of more than 35,000 carrier bags over a number of years. It wasn’t just bags that took Carol’s eye, however; she also made it into the Guinness Book of Records for having the biggest soap collection, as well as collecting over 600 biscuit tins and 850 mugs. Incredibly, all the items were kept at her rather modest home in Dunedin Road, where she passed away.

Carol recently had a brush with fame, appearing on ITV’s ‘Daybreak’ in its ‘collectorholics’ slot, where she talked about her love of collecting. Tributes have been paid by numerous friends and neighbours, who told how she could “light up a room”.

QR codes: getting it right

Friday, October 21st, 2011

QR codes are getting some bad press but many argue that it is not deserved. The problems in QR code campaigns originate mainly from poor implementation and a lack of joined-up thinking. If your QR codes do not work, your reputation and brand are tarnished, rather like when a web visitor discovers broken links. The key point to remember is that a QR code is something of a tease and, as such, those enticed to expend the effort of scanning it expect to be interested, delighted or rewarded in some way. With this expectation in place, it is easy to disappoint.

A common problem is that marketers are simply not testing the code with a variety of readers and devices before a campaign goes live. More haste, less speed. If the QR code is too small on an ad, for example, it may not scan. Other key pieces of advice when it comes to design are to use link shorteners to create clean codes, avoid using colours that do not provide sufficient contrast, provide a sufficient ‘quiet area’ around the code and avoid using 2D codes on highly reflective surfaces.

Don’t expect your user to do anything more than point, scan and arrive at the intended content. If it doesn’t work first time, you’ve probably lost them. Remember, almost all QR codes – including those printed on carrier bags – are scanned by smartphones, so don’t point the user to your standard desktop website – link your codes only to mobile-friendly or mobile-optimised sites.

When it comes to the ‘reward’ part of the deal, try to be creative. A digital copy of your leaflet is just plain dull. Think about offering exclusive videos or photos, free downloads (such as an eBook), ‘instant win’ competitions or money-off coupons. To be truly successful here, it is essential that you understand your target audience in order to deliver a favourable user experience.

Finally, don’t allow your creative zeal to cloud your marketing objectives. You can use your QR code campaign for a variety of business development goals, such as increasing your e-marketing database, growing the number of Likes for your Facebook page or increasing your number of blog subscribers.

The Carrier Carrier Company clocks up 10 years

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

We are celebrating ten years of successful trading this November.

Said Nigel Scott, Sales & Marketing Manager for the firm, “The time has certainly flown by, but it’s been a great business to be involved in. We took our very first order – for the PR firm, Grayling – in November 2001. Over the years,” continued Mr Scott, “we’ve supplied carrier bags to some of the biggest global brands including Coca-Cola, Toyota, the BBC, Moet, Shell, Disney and HSBC.”

Over the last 10 years our range of custom-printed bags has expanded to include laminated paper bags, bottle bags, twisted paper handle (kraft) paper, polythene, cotton, canvas and non-woven material. We specialise in meeting urgent orders, offering lead-times from just five working days. Says Nigel Scott, “We’re very proud of our reputation for providing exceptional service. This is why many of our clients turn to us time and time again to meet their exhibition or promotional carrier bag needs.”

We are now looking forward to the next 10 years.