Should Retailers Give Consumers a No Bag Option?

Every time I go through a fast-food drive-through, I wince at the amount of paper and plastic that comes through the window. When I order a cheeseburger on the fly, I don’t need a paper bag, 25 napkins, and other whatnot. I just want the cheeseburger, then I can use one of the myriad spare napkins stuffed in the console left over from other moments of junk food weakness.

It makes me wonder . . . why don’t fast food places simply ask consumers if they want the bag or not? Not only would it be an environmentally responsible thing to do, but it would save them a significant amount of money on consumables.

How much do you think McDonald’s, Burger King, Five Guys, Wendy’s, and all the rest could save by simply not giving customers bags and napkins and forks and salt packets if they don’t want them? How much landfill space could we preserve?

While we’re at it, why don’t we extend that to other retailers? Instead of me pleading with the lady behind the counter at Macy’s to not put my things into a bag, why couldn’t they just ask if I want a bag in the first place? Just once, I’d like that one lady at the grocery store to stop trying to force me to double bag my canned food.

But that would be too easy, right?

Written by Heidi Tolliver-Walker

Heidi Tolliver-Walker has been a commercial and digital printing industry analyst, feature writer, columnist, editor, and author for nearly 20 years. She is known for her meticulous research and no-nonsense perspective. In addition to having written thousands of industry articles for top industry publications, she and Richard Romano have been the face of the well-respected industry research firm The Industry Measure (TrendWatch Graphic Arts) for many years. In her more than 13-year tenure with the firm, she has written countless reports on digital printing, 1:1 (personalized) printing, Web-to-print, personalized URLs, and other hot industry applications. She is also a long-time contributing editor and columnist for Printing News, for which she writes two monthly columns, including "Personal Effects," which features monthly analysis of 1:1 (personalized) printing case studies. She is also the author of three titles for the National Association of Printing Leadership: Designer's Printing Companion, Ink & Color: A Printer's Guide, and Diversifying Via Value-Added Services. As a small, niche publisher (Strong Tower Publishing), she is active in utilizing these technologies in her own business, as well.


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