EPIC Sustainable Living Show, Vancouver 2008 – I first stopped by the Bag-To-Nature booth to inquire about how ‘compostable’ their plastics technology was. I soon learned that other municipalities in Canada have a whole different need for such bags.

“We took it for granted that the curbside collection of organics is something everybody in Canada does on a weekly basis.” Says Richard Dance of Indaco Manufacturing (Bag-to-Nature’s parent co).

“80% of the people who visited our booth here in Vancouver first expressed surprise that there are widespread source-separated organic collection programs elsewhere in Canada, especially in evil Toronto. Then disappointment that there no large scale programs available here, and there may not be for years.”

Digging further, I discovered that the bag itself has an impact on the effectiveness and uptake of such regional programs.

“Say Chillawack wants to start a green bin program.” Continues Dance. “They would send out a tender, and one of the cheaper bag manufacturers offers their bags for free. The municipality encourages local retailers to carry these bags. Once the freebies run out, participation drops off dramatically due to people equating all compostable bags as a horrible experience, splitting and spilling stuff all over the floor. It is then very difficult to convince a retailer or resident that our bags are a better solution, not the same old crap.”

So what makes a better bag?

“We are a private Canadian company that blends and extrudes our own proprietary certified compostable plastic film. We do not rely on off shore raw material
which is how we have developed a very strong dependable bag and liner. Once people try Bag-To-Nature they realize how inferior the competition is.”

The Green Marketing Brief: As a marketer, I like the locally-produced angle, which appeals to a ‘shop Canadian’ sentiment while addressing the carbon-costs of shipping from offshore. As well, a You-Tube style video demonstrating their strength advantage in a captivating way could help differentiate their product, and a bit more depth and visual quality on their web site would put them above the perception of their cheaper competitors.

Hopefully, as curbside organics programs grow, the Bag-To-Nature brand will move to take its place atop the compost-heap of Canadian public awareness.

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