If you noticed someone shopping with a stylish-looking reusable bag with a giant apple logo in one of four bright colors on the side, you have already been introduced to our new reusable shopping bags. Recently arrived from Enviro-Tote, these bags are made of organic cotton in nearby New Hampshire. Since the 1980s, the company has been producing environmentally-friendly alternatives to plastic bags. Being in Manchester, NH gave them an opportunity to tap into the cotton industry there, and they were manufacturing bags with silk-screen printing in their own plant by 1990.
We spoke with Nancy Sampo, President and Owner, to find out more about these great new bags.
What was the motivation for focusing on reusable bags? Why that product?
Since we were in the packaging business prior to the start of Enviro-Tote, we knew the environmental philosophy and needs of the retail customer.
What are your bags made of? Why did you choose these materials?
In the beginning, cotton canvas was plentiful. It was only until the mid-90s that alternative materials came along, giving us environmental alternatives. That started us building our line made from 100% recycled PET, 100% Organic cotton, and a blend of 60% recycled cotton/40% recycled PET.
What are the biggest challenges to making your reusable bags? How do you overcome those challenges?
Over the years it has been challenging to keep our materials consistent. Many of the mills that we have worked with over the years have closed due to imports. We have worked with strong manufacturers for the last ten years that have been able to sustain in difficult times.
How many different kinds of bags do you make?
We have about 20 standard bag styles, but since we manufacture the bags at our plant, we do a lot of custom work.
Beyond the product, in what other ways does your company stay eco-friendly and environmentally responsible?
From the very beginning of creating the styles and sizes of our bags, we have made sure that we size them to make the most out of our material rolls. Very little waste is generated when we make our standard bags. When we quote for custom bags and we find there will be wasted material, we encourage a size change. For a number of years, we had a local material recycling company pick up all of our scraps, if we had any. They have recently been sold and no longer recycle. We are looking for a new company to do this again.
What makes your bags different or unique compared to other reusable bags?
Our quality of screen printing, the attention to detail during every part of the production process, and the value of this type of promotional piece for a major marketing impression.
What makes your company different from other companies making reusable bags?
Absolutely our employees. We have had people working here since the start of Enviro-Tote. And as a result, we truly care about the service our customers receive. All the way through on-time shipping!
Does Enviro-Tote have an overriding philosophy or mission statement?
Enviro-Tote’s tag line, “Reusable Tote Bags, Made in the USA” really says a lot. Reusable says that you are buying a product that is environmental and marketable to be seen over and over. Made in the USA means quality, service, trust, community.