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Posts Tagged ‘cotton carrier bags’

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.

Plans for ‘compostable’ plastics at London Olympics

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Amid claims that the London 2012 Olympics will be the greenest in the event’s history, an environmental organisation is hoping that plastic packaging used at the event that is not recyclable will be made from compostable materials.

The NNFCC, the UK’s National Centre for Biorenewable Energy, Fuels and Materials, has agreed to act as an advisor to the Olympics Delivery Authority and London Organising Committee on how renewable packaging can be used at the event. The organisation is helping to create a supply chain for bio-based packaging at the London Olympics and will ensure that materials used comply with European Standard EN13432 (the requirement for packaging recovery through composting and biodegradation).

The NNFCC said this certification would mean that non-reusable, non-recyclable packaging should be suitable for ‘in-vessel’ composting or anaerobic digestion. John Williams, the NNFCC’s Head of Materials, said the body wanted any plastics used at London 2012 that were not recyclable to be made out of certified compostable plastic. The NNFCC is promoting the certification scheme for compostable materials through its UK Renewable Packaging Group, while “raising awareness of the benefits offered by more sustainable materials to key players in the packaging supply chain”.

Mr Williams conceded that the scale of the Olympics venture would be relatively small but added, “2012 is a perfect way to show how waste can be dealt with.” The NNFCC is working with a number of retail brands – including the fast food chain, McDonalds – in the run-up to the event.

Here at the Corporate Carrier Company, we take environmental concerns seriously. As standard, all of our polythene bags are produced from biodegradable plastic. They are also produced in the UK, minimising transport miles. All our UK-produced laminated paper bags are manufactured with paper from approved sustainable sources and the inks used are made from vegetable dyes, making them an eco-friendly option. Whilst we have the option to import bags when longer lead times allow, the vast majority of our laminated paper bags are produced in the UK, minimising transport miles. Of course, our twisted handle paper bags are 100% biodegradable, while our cotton bags are produced from natural, unbleached cotton.

CBI says government and business should work together to save resources

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

According to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), government and business interests need to work together to overcome the barriers that prevent the use of fewer resources and achieve greater efficiencies.

At the launch of its report entitled ‘Made to last: Creating a resource efficient economy’ earlier this week, the CBI said that businesses are increasingly looking to improve their resource efficiency in terms of both man-made and natural materials, as doing so offers them competitive advantage and reduces their dependence on supplies which can be volatile in price and availability.

At an event on resource security organised jointly with the Green Alliance and attended by Business Secretary, Vince Cable, the CBI’s Deputy Director-General, Neil Bentley, said, “The CBI has worked hard over a number of years to show leadership on climate change. We want to do the same with the much broader issue of resource efficiency. There’s a business case for acting, and a threat to our growth prospects if we don’t.” He went on, “Too many different government departments at too many different levels are coming up with their own ways of dealing with this problem. We’re looking to the Business Secretary and the EU Commissioner to give us the right policy framework. The CBI continues to believe you need to be green and grow. At the front of our mind should be how we can use this agenda to increase our competitiveness, deliver growth and ensure security of supplies well into the future. Framed correctly, environmental goals can help us achieve our economic goals.”

The CBI report argues that three steps are necessary to achieve a more resource efficient economy:

  1. Recognise that resource efficiency makes business and environmental sense and will be key to our future economy;
  2. Establish a shared set of indicators for resource efficiency before introducing targets; and
  3. Address policy and market risks to investment in resource efficient products and services

Also speaking at the event, Chief Executive of WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme), Liz Goodwin, argued that produce reuse could hold the key to issues of resource security. She said that by pursuing the opportunities for reuse, the UK could lower its reliance on raw materials by as much as 20% by the year 2020. Her speech hinted at a shift from a focus on packaging to one on products and their lifecycles.

In the supply of custom-printed carrier bags, for example, the CBI and WRAP would no doubt recommend a shift towards longer-life bags such as those produced from cotton, canvas or non-woven material.

During his time at the podium, the European Commissioner for Environment, Janez Potočnik, said the EC would be promoting eco-design next year within the EU. He stated, “If every company could afford to carry out a proper life-cycle costing of its operations and products, and consumers were properly informed, then waste could be prevented, products recycled and re-used. Many companies are already doing this, but there are many different standards across the European economy. A common approach across the EU would help break down these barriers and open up more opportunities for a truly European Single Market for green products. Public authorities could help by making their procurement decisions sustainable across the life-cycle.”

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.

Environment Agency to republish bag report

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

According to the website packagingnews.co.uk, the Environment Agency has confirmed that it expects to republish its controversial report on carrier bags on its website by the end of July.

Mystery surrounded the organisation’s decision to remove the influential and long-awaited report. Originally scheduled for publication in 2007, the report did not actually appear until February 2011 and was then removed from the EA website in April due to ‘a legal query’.

The report concluded that plastic bags are almost 200 times less damaging to the environment than the cotton bags favoured by green campaigners, and that they have less than one third of the C0₂ emissions of paper bags. Thus, in order to offset the small impact of each plastic bag, consumers would have to use the same cotton bag every working day for a year, or use paper bags at least three times before binning or recycling them. Critics of the report, however, pointed out that its findings ignore the effects of plastic bag litter.

Now an EA spokeswoman has said, “We are expecting to put the report on carrier bags back on our website at the end of July. We are making some minor changes to provide clarification on technical points but, at this stage, do not expect the conclusions to change.”

Currently the EA website carries this message: “A report commissioned by the Environment Agency shows that commonly-used plastic ‘bags for life’, if used four or more times, will have a lower carbon footprint than single-use carrier bags. We have received a legal query regarding the Report on the Life Cycle Assessment of Carrier Bags and have removed the report and the associated webpage temporarily whilst we investigate this. We will provide further information soon. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused.”

Watch this space.

INCPEN says Waste Review should reflect EA bag report

Friday, April 8th, 2011

INCPEN – the Industry Council for Packaging and the Environment – has stated that Defra’s Waste Review should incorporate the findings of the Environment Agency’s ’suppressed’ report on supermarket carrier bags.

The Environment Agency’s report, published back in February, found that a cotton shopping bag has to be re-used over 130 times to have less environmental impact than a single-use plastic carrier.

INCPEN Director, Jane Bickerstaffe, has said that she welcomes the EA’s study as an important contribution to the debate about carrier bags and that she hopes the government’s Waste Review, due to be published in May, would analyse the science and not take “a knee-jerk reaction” on carrier bags.

Ms Bickerstaffe added, “The Government is keen to use an evidence-based approach to policy. We hope the Waste Review policy will reflect these findings and that other countries will re-think their policies on bags.”

Bickerstaffe has also called on the Welsh Assembly Environment Minister, Jane Davidson, to stop the introduction of a single-use carrier bag charge, due to be introduced this October, and called on Italy to stop its plastic bag ban. She added, “We should not wrongly demonise the bag that actually has the smallest environmental impact.”

Call for Wales to scrap its bag tax

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Following the recent research by the Environment Agency into supermarket bags, which found that a cotton shopping bag has to be re-used over 130 times to have less environmental impact than a single-use plastic carrier, the packaging industry is stepping up its efforts to persuade the Welsh Assembly to abandon its plans for a carrier bag tax, planned for October.

The new tax, which could see shops charging as much as 15p for a bag, has been attacked in a joint open letter to Jane Davidson, Welsh Environment Minister, from Barry Turner, Chief Executive of the Packaging and Films Association, and Paul Marmot, Chairman of the Carrier Bag Consortium. They argue that the minister had given them an undertaking to review the planned tax if the EA’s research proved that lightweight bags had a lower environmental impact compared with heavier carriers.

Barry Turner said: “We are now calling on Jane Davidson to honour her word and abandon the bag tax in Wales. This would be a brave move but it would show that the Welsh Assembly, like the Scottish Parliament before it, respects science over spin.”

Paul Marmot added: “This is what we have been telling the Welsh Environment Minister for years and yet she has forced this tax on the people of Wales. If it goes ahead, Wales will suffer higher environmental damage not less. These are the unintended consequences which her counterparts in Westminster and Scotland acknowledged a long time ago.”

Mr Turner went on to say: “By encouraging consumers to reuse carrier bags, consumption has dropped by around 50% in Wales – up to 70% in some cases. People are now encouraged to recycle unwanted bags at front of store with around 5,000 collection points now available across the UK and retailers have revised their bag specifications to ensure minimal resources are used. There has also been an increase of 40% in the amount of recycled plastic being used in bags. All this has been achieved without Government intervention and all within the waste framework directive – according to the principles of reduce, reuse and recycle.”

‘Suppressed’ report says cotton bags are no greener than plastic

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Cotton bags are no greener than plastic bags, according to new Government research published this week. In a report that some pundits reckon has been suppressed, the Environment Agency has found that ordinary high-density polythene (HDPE) bags used by retailers are greener than supposedly environmentally friendly ones. The long-awaited report, entitled ‘Life Assessment of Supermarket Carrier Bags’, was commissioned back in 2005 and originally scheduled for publication in 2007.

Packaging industry bodies have welcomed the report’s findings that HDPE bags are, for each use, almost 200 times less damaging to the climate than cotton bags, and have less than one third of the carbon dioxide emissions than paper bags.

The report set out to discover which of seven types of bag have the lowest environmental impact by assessing the pollution caused through extraction of raw materials, production, transportation and disposal. The figures suggest that consumers would have to use the same cotton bag every working day for a year or use paper bags at least three times before binning or recycling them in order to balance out the impact of each supermarket plastic bag.

Speaking to the Independent on Sunday, Barry Turner, Chief Executive of the Packaging And Films Association (PAFA) suggested that the Environment Agency had suppressed the report, saying, “This has dragged on and on. It was a report that could have been done relatively quickly, probably within 12 months but it has gone on for years.” He added that he would not be surprised if the report had been buried because it “didn’t give the right answers” and “doesn’t support the political thrust at the moment”.

Director General of the British Plastics Federation, Peter Davis, commented, “The BPF are very pleased to see this Government research which shows that the plastic carrier bag has strong environmental credentials. This vindicates the hard work done by PAFA and the Carrier Bag Consortium to put over the real facts on the environmental benefits of plastic carrier bags. We hope this will now transform the debate to less of a knee-jerk reaction to a debate based on sound science and facts.”

Carrier bags: one of the most powerful marketing tools

Friday, June 25th, 2010

It’s as true in business as it is in life – sometimes the simpler things are, the better! Promotional merchandise has been playing a vital role in the consumer market for several decades now. Marketing research shows that it is one of the most cost-effective methods of keeping a company’s brand visible to consumers. As the promotional goods sector has matured, all kinds of weird and wonderful products have reached the marketplace – from stress balls and air fresheners to digital photo frames and cuddly toys. Yet no other promotional product can match the carrier bag when it comes down to practical appeal and bottom-line cost-effectiveness.

Almost everyone needs a carrier bag for some purpose during the average week. They are a universal product – used by young and old, men and women, rich and poor, business executives and market shoppers. What’s more, their format is inherently suited to brand visibility – with two large and relatively flat areas suited to the printing of logos and promotional messages. Last – but absolutely not least – they are intrinsically portable, meaning that your marketing message will be seen by many people in your marketplace – whether that’s an exhibition hall, a shopping centre or the high street.

With a wide choice of materials – including paper, plastic, cotton, canvas and non-woven fabric – there is a carrier bag to suit every marketing budget. Some styles are designed for mass production at very low cost, while others feature exceptionally high quality for an exclusive appeal. Many carrier bag options are environmentally friendly too, with even polythene bags capable of being manufactured from biodegradable material.

Given their low unit cost, usefulness, attractiveness and durability, it really is no surprise that the humble carrier bag has remained a stalwart in the promotional armoury of the savvy marketing manager for so long!