Plastic Bag Bans Boost Sales of Reusable Promo Bags

Companies sink $1.7 billion into logoed totes

TREVOSE, PA – September 15, 2011 – The growing worldwide trend toward plastic bag bans is helping push sales of promotional bags into the billions, according to the Advertising Specialty Institute.

The bags are used to promote everything from local charities to major corporations. Bags accounted for 9.7% of all revenue from the sale of promotional products last year, or $1.7 billion, according to ASI’s 2011 State of the Industry report.

Searches for bags in ASI’s exclusive promotional products database rose more than 10% in the last year, with more than 10,000 bags from over 800 different suppliers currently available.

“There’s no question recyclable bags help reduce the billions of plastic bags circulating around the globe,” said Timothy M. Andrews, president and chief executive officer of ASI. “Once again, the promotional products industry is helping lead the way with a superior marketing tool that does everything from carrying groceries to promoting businesses to saving the environment.”

According to ASI’s Global Advertising Specialties Impressions Study, bags are great marketing vehicles and when compared with other promotional products like pens and caps, generate the highest number of ad impressions in a month 1,078 for a single bag – because they’re used repeatedly in and out of the office, and the message they carry is seen by significant numbers of people.

The Wall Street Journalreports that if each bag is used multiple times – at least once a week – four or five reusable bags can replace 520 plastic bags a year.

“A bag is a functional, usable, ageless item, but it’s even better when you tie in a marketing program to it to make it a worthwhile promotional investment,” said distributor Michelle Altobelli of Altobelli Advantage, Inc. “It offers great exposure value since it is your advertising walking around the trade show floor, grocery store or college campus.”

“I’ve recently noticed an influx of interest in both recyclable bags and recycled bags,” said distributor Bob Manning of Proforma Print Marketing. “I think the bans throughout the country have made companies aware they have alternative options, and they’re starting to ask for them.”

In recent years, a growing number of U.S. communities in states as diverse as Alaska, California and North Carolina, and countries like Italy and India, have banned plastic bags. Recently, according to the Los Angeles Times, a city councilman proposed a bag ban that goes beyond action taken in other California cities and counties and calls for stores to stop using paper and plastic bags.

Reusable bags are often used as promotional products, or advertising specialties, imprinted with logos or slogans to market a company, organization, product, service, achievement or event. Marketers often use freebies in their campaigns to dramatically increase response rates.

About ASI
The Advertising Specialty Institute is the largest education, media and marketing organization serving the advertising specialty industry, with a membership of over 26,000 distributor firms (sellers) and supplier firms (manufacturers) of advertising specialties. Visit ASI at and on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and the CEO’s blog.