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Postby BlenderDefender » January 13th, 2005, 4:22 pm

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Could you make this bag a fashion object as well as a political statement? Disposable bags form many trendy stores are very fashionable. e.g. Puma store, apple store, diesel, adidas, lucky, ect...

Postby ykh » January 13th, 2005, 10:27 pm


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what's the history of the grocery bag? why plastic? why paper? why any bag? what are the functional requirements of these things? and do they really satisfy them? should there be more? could there?

Postby bluegrrrl » January 14th, 2005, 6:13 am


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i like the idea of buying a bag, and being able to return it for a refund. however, i think that the *buy back* price (the price that the store pays you for your old bag) should be less than the price of a new bag - this will encourage re-use of the bag.
at some stores in the UK, you can buy a heavy duty, reusable plastic bag, called a *bag for life* ... when the bag is damaged, it can be taken back to the store, and they will give you a new bag, for your old bag... rather than a monetary refund.

Postby abby » January 14th, 2005, 4:44 pm

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This may be stupid, but what if there was some sort of standardized bag and drop boxes or collection for their return/reuse? Like bottles, only...bags.
Like I say, it is probably a bit of a stretch, but even people who forget to bring bags back to the store (which honestly is probably most people) wouldn't have much trouble remembering to put them in another colored recycling bin.

Postby dmuren » January 14th, 2005, 8:22 pm

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This is a great issue, and definitely worth some design discussion. But an important thing to remember is that the previously mentioned "Julie" profile is most likely already eco-conscious, and definitely not the largest contributor to the problem. In fact, she may already participate in voluntary bring-back programs for PGBs.

Instead, Allow me to present Marie and her family:

Image

While they aren't really opposed to safeguarding the environment, with 5 people's worth of groceries (two full carts!) to lug home solo every week, Marie is hardly going to consider anything which might add hassle to the prospect.

However, Marie is very sensitive to style, and keeping up with what the new "suburban mom item" is, particularly those items she sees on shows like Oprah, and Desperate Housewives (Oh come on, you know you watch it :) What if we could make something cool enough to replace bags that it would make "Oprah's Favorite Things"?

http://www2.oprah.com/presents/holiday2004/gifts/pres_hol2004_gifts_oft.jhtml

What if designers stopped trying to "Explain first, convert later" and used the power of mad consumption to our advantage? What if we weren't making a bag that was "Just reusable" (And probably would get misplaced before it could really make an impact -- if you throw away a sturdy woven plastic bag, or even a cotton one, that's a lot of energy you wasted compared to a plastic cheapie)

What if we were making a new system for getting groceries home

For example:

RFID all groceries (OK, this is big, but stick with me). Now, just pile all groceries into the cart -- which is a tub now, not a mesh basket. Now just walk out the door with everything -- it's paid for. Now, you walk to your car, and dock the tub in the back. An automatic mechanical system slides an empty tub out of the car, and the full tub inside. The empty is then replaced in the cart, and the cart returned.

This is VERY blue sky, and will probably never happen, but remember that the big problems and big solutions come from big changes. Paper bags were already a waste generator before plastic -- the real waste problem came when society changed it's mind and saw bags as something not valuable enough to re-use.

So now, we need an equally huge idea -- like that change of mind -- to make bags completely irrelevant. No bags, no waste. There's no reason to think small in a contest like this.
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Postby melovescookies » January 15th, 2005, 11:13 am

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abby wrote:This may be stupid, but what if there was some sort of standardized bag and drop boxes or collection for their return/reuse? Like bottles, only...bags.
Like I say, it is probably a bit of a stretch, but even people who forget to bring bags back to the store (which honestly is probably most people) wouldn't have much trouble remembering to put them in another colored recycling bin.


We have those plastic bag collection things at Wegman's. Instead of a bin it's a big plastic bag that gets filled up with smaller plastic bags.

Postby abby » January 16th, 2005, 11:26 am

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dmuren wrote:However, Marie is very sensitive to style, and keeping up with what the new "suburban mom item" is, particularly those items she sees on shows like Oprah, and Desperate Housewives (Oh come on, you know you watch it :) What if we could make something cool enough to replace bags that it would make "Oprah's Favorite Things"?


I'm speaking as someone who has the best of intentions and has bought many a reusable cotton mesh bag but can NEVER remember to bring them to the store and has a stockpile of plastic bags in my kitchen cabinet: What if the solution is a new, cool bag that's collapsible to the size of a credit card? It not only has that style factor but would be much easier to remember--you'd leave it in your wallet all the time.
Still a bag, but IMHO solves some of the most common problems.

Postby melovescookies » January 20th, 2005, 4:48 am

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Postby Sam » January 22nd, 2005, 8:46 pm


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I'm back after a great week in Italy. Now there's a blizzard rolling into Boston, so it's time to play catch up.



Thanks MLC, this was a HUGE source of anecdotal experience, lots of useful info. I thought I'd post some of the more interesting comments:


“I've tried to do the canvas bag thing myself here, but I never have stuck with it -- mostly because I feel like the odd duck!”

“So when we came to the cashier, I told her we didn't need the bag since it was only two items. My mom was shocked. ‘I didn't know you didn't HAVE to have a bag if you don't want one!’”

“They're handy because they have a hard plastic insert on the bottom so they sit well on tables etc and don't break. Plus, they only cost a dollar.”

“The only thing I don't like about my bags is that most of them are not very attractive.”

“A supermarket in Australia brought out these non-woven spun-polyester 'greenbags' that they sell for $1 and Australians have gone crazy over them. Everywhere you see people using them as tote bags. The things aren't even nice-looking! They're big green ugly things! But I use them too!”

“Aldi has some awesome reusable very heavy plastic bags with nylon handles for .10 each. They also have nifty insulated bags for .99 each. Our Aldi bags are used for all sorts of carrying/hauling/lugging and because we knowingly pay for them, we do not "pitch" them.”

“Over here a lot of people bring their own bags - canvas ones (a lot of supermarkets actually sell canvas bags with their logo on them)”

“I almost always put my groceries in my backpack; I just have a normal Eastpak but if you live alone you don't need a lot of groceries, so the backpack is usually enough for me. Much easier to carry too.”

“At the store I shop there is a receptacle for used plastic bags to be recycled. I have seen people drop off a load of bags then go into the store and load up brand new ones. talk about odd ducks!”

“reusing bags helps me keep my budget too. If I only have 2 bags, I can only buy to bags worth of groceries.”

“Go to Target and they think if you use your own bag you're trying to kill a small child or something.”

“Think of the money American grocery stores could save if people bagged their own groceries: fewer bags would be used, & they wouldn't have to pay baggers!”

“the grocery shoppers of San Francisco may soon start paying a fee of 17 cents per bag. That figure is the cost that the citizenry is already paying in general taxes for some of the costs of plastic-bag trash, such as cleaning up the litter and unclogging the waste system."

“I'm always a little surprised when someone else does it for me. "Hey! What are you doing with my ice cream? Put. That. Down."

“I like the canvas bags, but personally they're too bulky to transport. I hope the nylon ones work out.”

“my local organic foodstore doesn't have their own bags, they have a sign saying 'reuse your bags here'

“I have jute bags from my local wholefood co-op. One is bright pink and says "Eat your Greens", the other is green and reads "Shop Local".

“Well guess what, the 'green bags' are made of the same stuff as disposable plastic bags (just more of it, and spun to make fabric), and are not acceptable as landfill because they don't break down... just like the 'evil' disposable bags! So I'm thinking, yeah sure, we all are using less bags, but these ‘green ones’ are still gonna be around FOREVER.”

Postby yo » January 22nd, 2005, 9:49 pm

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Many people in urban and sub urban (my houshold included) reuse their plastic grocery bags to pick up after their dogs, creating mumified dog poop for future archeologists.

Maybe there is some bio angle you could work in that hooks with this reuse. Many stoores (Target, Storables, Container Store) sell wall mounted grocery bag container/dispencers disigned with this reuse in mind.

interesting

Postby carton » January 26th, 2005, 2:50 pm


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first off, the point about making the bags the size that would fit the bathroom trashcan is cool, it would probably also allow for more items to fit in the bag so yould need to take less bags home with you. also someone ought to convince walmart that we dont need bags when we buy one item, they seem like the worst about that, but i have a bit of a bias against walmart as it is.

Postby ykh » February 8th, 2005, 6:43 pm


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"What if we were making a new system for getting groceries home"

surprised this hasnt been explored. was thinking along same lines. some people travel HOURS to/from grocery stores. rural people far from town. retired military far from base (discounted food). if in summer, melting food is issue. so is amount of food. load wagon up w ton of food and kids. people piled on top of bagged groceries. maybe a welcome target market would help change overall behavior?

A new way to shop...

Postby Sam » February 9th, 2005, 12:49 am


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"What if we were making a new system for getting groceries home"

I’ve been thinking a lot about this as well over the past week or two after dmuren made his post. I think it in fits perfectly with this project. I kept thinking about how to please the young urbanite shopper who is making two to four trips a week to the store and the suburban mom (or dad) shopper who is making one mega-trip every two weeks. Both end up using a ton of plastic grocery bags and at the same time are usually inconvenienced by the grocery shopping experience. So I’ll try to explain what I think could be a better experience that can solve the pesky plastic bag problem and make shopping more enjoyable. What I’d like to do is bring grocery shopping back down to human-scale.

Image

My idea is a small grocery market that combines technology and people to provide a better shopping experience. You walk in to a market-in-the-round so to speak. Customers would either bring their own reusable bags or take part in the $1 deposit program I spoke about in previous posts; they would use these bags to do their shopping in the market as well as to carry their groceries home. The main idea of the market is that around the periphery of the store would be all of your fresh goods and services, for example: the produce section, butcher and bakery. These stations would be small and run by one or two “specialists,” and would be reminiscent of small European food shops. These are the type of places where the baker or pharmacist knows your name and you trust their advice and judgment when buying goods. After acquiring all their fresh goods customers would move towards the center of the market to the kiosks.

Image

The kiosks serve as a place not only to check out, but also to order your packaged goods, i.e., crackers, cereal, paper towels, soap, etc. The kiosk display would have an intuitive UI using aisles as a metaphor for searching through the store. Customers could dip their credit card to set up a profile with which they could save their grocery lists for quick ordering, set up favorites, schedule deliveries, or enjoy other member benefits. Users could also opt for logging in as guest and simply using their cash or card to check out. The top of the “T” you see in the picture generates a “cone of silence” effect for users on both sides of the kiosk, making it possible for only one user to hear audio per station. This same user interface could also be accessed via the internet, for shopping at home.

I see multiple options for delivery, similarly to ordering goods online. Delivery charges could be waved if you spent a certain amount and were willing to wait four days for delivery. Customers who want same day or next day delivery pay some amount for that premium service. The point is that the user walks out of the store with 1-3 reusable bags full of fresh goods and the rest of their packaged goods arrive at their home. I think the milk crate is a good metaphor for the delivery scheme. Groceries could be delivered in some sort of reusable crate. When the delivery man comes, he delivers your new groceries in some new crates, and takes any old crates you may have. He’ll also take any reusable bags you may have checked out and give you a dollar credit, which will show up next time you log in to the service.

So, a little shift in focus. I still see a nice reusable bag as a integral part of the system. I think this scheme works for a variety of different shoppers and provides some flexibility. An urban shopper can hit the market a couple times a week and grab what they need to make dinner that night, they can also schedule delivery of essentials like soap and toilet paper to come every one or two weeks. Suburban shoppers are freed from the mega shopping trip where they are stocking up the pantry. Instead they grab their fresh goods and the mountains of other goods are delivered right to their doorstep.

Postby bluegrrrl » February 11th, 2005, 7:44 am


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your idea sounds good for the consumer, but i'm not sure that stores would appreciate as it leaves very little room for impulse purchases :| the layout of a store usually works as a whole, rather than separately, as your stations would work - for example, the fake bakery smells emanating from the instore bakery, is meant to draw people through the front isles, towards the back, where the bakery is - as people walk through these isles, they have the opportunity to make impulse purchases. well... thats how its supposed to work in theory, anyway :wink: i like your bag-deposit idea - similar to the trolley deposit idea, that works quite well, in the stores that use them :)

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