This time round we’re focusing on a material, rather than a type of bag because over recent months we’ve seen increasing consumers interest in non-woven polypropylene.
PP is widely used for bags of all types, but what exactly makes it so popular? And we’ll ask why non-woven PP bags the right choice for your next marketing campaign might be.
But first, what exactly is NWPP, and is there a woven alternative? Essentially, it’s sheets of polypropylene that have been bonded together by heating them, and because it’s simpler than woven pp, it’s less time consuming and more cost effective. The two images below illustrate the differences between the materials.
But you say, all you’ve been talking about recently is companies going green with promos, Why are you talking about plastic? Believe it or not, NWPP has a claim to be an eco-friendly choice.
Green products can be judged on how many times they’re re-used. Single-use paper bags can be harmful too. So, a non-woven PP bag which lasts for thousands of re-uses goes a fair way to being eco-friendly by nature. Add to that the fact that cotton bags have a larger carbon footprint in their manufacture, so much so that on average it has been calculated a cotton bag could take over 150 uses, compared to the miniscule 14 uses of non-woven to become green, you may change your view of the NWPP tote.
While a good cotton shopper has an excellent life-span it pales into insignificance besides the durability of PP. Ideally, every bag would use little or no resources to create and last for ever, but we are yet to discover such an item.
Non-woven PP totes and bags score over cotton in that they can be manufactured from recycled plastics, so straight away, the eco credentials are better. Plus, at the end of life, they can be recycled again, becoming something else – maybe even another promotional bag.
Ultimately, polypropylene is not biodegradable. As with cotton, if these bags end up in landfill, they will only do harm to the environment. Recycling is the way to go.
Many companies print the recycling message on the bag, or supply documentation when sold stating that they can be recycled along with household plastics, and we encourage BoI customers to do the same. This is not only better for planet, it also shows your company’s green credentials, and your awareness of the green issues.
Benefits of PP
While we are looking at the production process of non-woven shopper bags and totes, we may as well look at the additional benefit manufacturing with this material brings, the first being wastage or, in this case, the lack of.
To make NWPP bags requires huge sheets of the material which are then cut in the most economic way to get the most bags from the least area, before being sealed together. Any off-cuts are simply chucked back into the manufacturing process to make the next sheet of material.
For consumers, this efficient process means prices can be kept low, which is especially beneficial when ordering bespoke products – you only pay for the material used.
In reality, this is a rare scenario with bespoke manufacturing. Usually, off cuts are of no use to anyone, and are charged as material used.
There is also huge flexibility in the base colour of a product; pantone matching to your brand standard is a simple process, and produces very accurate results without huge price hikes (unlike jute, for example). The sheer nature of PP’s finish, flat and plastic, allows for very easy, and detailed printing in full colour, with great results.
Generally speaking, NWPP is the biggest competitor to cotton as a material within the merchandise market and lends itself towards shopper-style tote bags.
These perfectly lend themselves to large events such as trade shows, festivals and charity days, as the costs are low, and they offer potential for re-use, if chosen correctly. They are also commonplace in supermarkets and shops as Bags for Life.
NWPP is a common choice for cooler bags and large shoppers with an insulated lining, and it also has the upper hand with water resistance..
If your event is taking place in the UK NWPP may be perfect for a handy tote that offers that little bit of extra protection from the elements, and the chances of it travelling around increase too. And, as we all know, the more people that see your branded bag, the better.
Off-the-shelf availability of a vast number of vibrant colours is huge with non-woven bags, especially important when making an impact is your priority. Best of all, this does not come at a premium.
Compared to cotton bags, where natural is always the cheapest option, and any change of the base colour must be paid for, non-woven has no limitations. Even if cost is not an issue, the natural colour vibrancy of PP is greater than that of any raw material such as jute or canvas, meaning you get a more visually appealing bag that will not only stand out in the crowd, but also further enhance your brand image.
Things to watch out for
We think NWPP is a great product, but we always advise ordering samples before committing to make sure what you hand out will last. In particular, look at how the handles and the body of the bag are connected.
Price-wise, NWPP is generally on par with cotton shoppers but offers a more visually appealing – and potentially more practical – bag.
Remember, however, that the objective is brand visibility, so always ensure your logo is printed on a bag that will definitely go further than the exhibition hall’s car park.