Paper bags also generate harmful waste, surprisingly more so than plastic bags. Every year millions of trees are cut down to make bags out of paper for American buyers and particularly grocery bags which have the disadvantage of breaking easily if not carried and stored properly. This process is expensive and taxing on the environment.
Cloth bags, on the other hand, are part of the “eco friendly” products advocated by the “green” movement because they are made of biodegradable natural fibers. They are more comfortable to carry, they don't break nor do they have to be “double bagged,” and they don't fall over when they're full. Actually these bags are now becoming more than just grocery bags. Marketers are seeing their benefits and using them as marketing tools imprinting them with their company name and logo and making them available to their customers at a modest price. Studies indicate that the life span of a typical bag is on average about a year and a half or about three hundred trips. Ordinarily a person can pass fifty people on each trip which amounts to fifty exposures multiplied by the number of days a person takes the bag with them and these can be impressive numbers for marketing purposes.
These bags have also become a popular accessory for millionaires and celebrities and on the streets of New York and Los Angeles they are becoming the latest trend. Families and individuals are using them as beach bags and gym bags while other are using them to carry a laptop, text books or anything else that needs to be carried and fits into the bag.
Wanting something original to make a person stand out in a crowd has led to personalizing one's cloth bag and this is becoming ever more popular. Many companies have incorporated pockets for iPods, drink bottles and mobile phones, and some are even offering personalized services where people can upload their own texts and designs onto their bags.