The story of Ubiquitous & indispensable Shopping Bags

You shop, I shop, everyone family shops during mass festive seasons such as Diwali! Almost everyone goes spending-spree/shopping-spree … it is but natural that shopping bags have a big role in the ‘shopping’ culture. You need to carry all your merchandise or gift items, from shops to home!

25 Nov 2015 | By Shripad Bhat

What go unnoticed are the shopping bags of different sizes, substrate – Non-woven (a substitute to PVC) cloth, Jute (almost 80% exported from Kolkata), Juco (combo of Jute and cotton), canvas, resin, plastic (with sting attached with regards to microns!), designs (text and images), shapes (length and width), and print impressions (screen, flexo, offset). 
In India during Diwali, people use bags to carry merchandise, gift items, sweets, crackers, pooja items, et al. This writer has noticed that many shops in and and Mumbai have displayed notice to say that NO FREE carry bags, but available on request and upon payment!
Why Screen Printed Shopping Bags?
According to printers, it is convenient to print multi colour/ halftone on automatic flexo machines (poly bag/flexo bag), provided there is a bulk order. However, often customers prefer screen printed bags simply because there is some different look. Bag makers say that Screen printing is economical for short run orders. With screen printing it is possible to reproduce vibrant colors with sharpness in their text, logos, etc.
These screen printers have full of orders for screen printed bags!
Let’s track down on bag printers:
Planet Non-Woven, Vapi, Gujarat: (NON Woven Bags printer)
Meet Bhadresh Sheth of Vapi-based Planet Non-Woven. Non-woven bag printing is his passion which is evident from the heap of colourful non-woven bags ready for dispatch at his printing factory. He shares the secret of non-woven bag making which includes screen printing. 
The company supplies bags to: Temples and religious institutions, Jewelry shops, Cloth / garment shops, Shopping malls, Mobile / electronics shops, Cement companies, Hotels / restaurants, Laundry chains, Sweet shops, wedding bags, wine shops, Corporate, FMCGs, Manufacturers, dealer, traders, and even events and mega exhibitions in New Delhi wherein visitors are given away handouts and booklets in a nonwoven bag. They supply both plain and printed bags with sizes ranging from 10” x 14” to 14” x 19”.
What’s in a Non-Woven Bag Making?
Purpose of bag: Branding (give away) or shopping/carry bag.
Content/goods to be carried.
Weight bearing capacity as per purpose. We make bags right from 1 kg for kirana, grocery shops, cloth/garment shops. Weight-bearing is decided as per goods to be carried, e.g. Cloth, grains, vegetable/fruits, Sweets box, Jewellery, paper (Photocopy shops/stationery shops).
Thickness in micron: We make bags in the range of 45 to 120 micron and 60 micron is used for regular jobs.
Choice of colour: Dark colors are mostly preferred by corporate. We offer in almost 12 different colours such as white, red, pink, blue, green, orange, black, etc.
Color of ink: This is again crucial. It has to be decided based on colour of fabric.
Fabric available: In roll form or duly cut sheets.
Choice of Handle shape –D-cut, stitched handle.
Shape of bag (design)
Printed / plan
We source non-woven sheets in roll form which is cut into required size for printing, before stitching.
R.V.R. Bags, Erode, Tamil Nadu
R.V.R. Bags use Grafica’s Nano-Print plus speed up production and improve quality of non woven bags. “Our Bag printing involves text, outlines, logos, sketches, etc, hence achieving sharpness was not possible on manual screen printing,” says R. Vadivel, proprietor of the company. Their 3000 sq. ft production facility at Erode has cutting and stitching facilities, besides outsourcing stitching.  
R.V.R. Bags product portfolio are divided as under:
1)Cloth bags: Wedding bags, temple bags, customized and compliment bags
2)Non-woven bags: Shopping carry bags, complimentary bags, promotional and branding bags
3)Rexine bags: Complimentary bags, cash bags, jewelry bags
These bags are offered in the range of 12” x 14” (min) and 14” x 18” (max), involving both screen printing (80%) and multi colour offset printed (20%).
The company’s has customer base in many cities such as Chennai, Trichy, Madurai in Tamil Nadu, and Mysore, Hassan, etc (in Karnataka). “We make about 3000 bags per day, but against order only,” says Vadivel. “We supply bags to jeweler shops, educational institutions, temples, weddings, corporate (for branding/promotion purpose),” reveals Vadivel.
Surge Seven Inc, Sivakasi 
Over 40 women employees at Sivakasi based Surge Seven Inc, an ‘all-women’ company headed by Mrs. M. Sivasakhti are fully engrossed to produce designer gift bags and return gift bags (involving screen printing) for weddings and other auspicious occasions. Her entrepreneur husband Mr. G. Murugesh owns a marketing company ‘Seventh Sense’, which markets these bags under the brand name "Signature Roses". “We have started receiving lot of inquiries from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka market as well” says Mr. Murugesh. They also execute export orders.
Dhanshree Flexographics, Bhiwandi  
Bhiwandi based Dhanshree Flexographics has turned its focus on rural markets of Maharashtra state. As the name suggests, the company is engaged in the manufacture and supply of packaging / shopping carry bags made up of cloth, paper, jute, non-woven, PVC. Their screen printing unit at Panvel houses Grafica's Nano-Print for exclusively undertaking non-woven bag printing.
Non-woven bags are in big demand and we are targeting small towns of Maharashtra as plastic bags are fading away,” avers Nilesh Berde, proprietor of Dhanashree Flexographics. His brother Amol Berde runs packaging unit (bags) in Daman while Nilesh is managing their 3000 sq.ft plant in Bhiwandi. “We are eying rural market in a big way because there are scores of shops and stores selling grocery, cloth, jewelry, medicine, etc. We also supply bags to garment/apparel manufacturers, shopping malls, sweets and food bazar” says Nilesh. “With automation quality has improved and production targets are met with ease,” he concludes.
Kamatchi Cloth Bag, Kanchhipuram:
Kanchipuram based Kamatchi Cloth Bag Works prints 10000 wedding cloth bags/day on Nano-Print plus. They make traditional cloth bags meant for wedding ceremony to customers in Kancheepuram (known as city of thousand temples) and Chennai in Tamil Nadu state. They also screen print nonwoven bags in a small quantity upon special request from customers. "As per the tradition, we use only dark yellow fabric to make these bags, and text is printed in maroon colour ink. The bag is used to pack coconut, sweets, dry-fruits, etc which are presented to every guest at wedding ceremony, even if there are 3-4 people from one family," says S. Muthu Kumar. 
Ashoka Print, New Delhi:
New Delhi based Ashoka Print make eco friendly paper bags under the brand name 'The Bag Factory', which are supplied to showrooms, corporate, shopping malls, large store-chains, banks, advertising agencies for branding purpose.
D.S. Enterprises, Ahmedabad 
Ms Dipti Patel, one of the partners of D.S. Enterprises, Ahmedabad, eyes export market in a big way for their premium quality paper bags and boxes. They are exporting these products to USA and UK market. D.S. Enterprises has also invested in automatic non-woven bag making & printing machine to produce multi colour bags.
S.S. Screen Printers, Mumbai:
The staff at Mumbai based S.S. Screen Printers are fascinated with the way automation works, giving them that extra comfort while screen printing non-woven bags at 1000 impressions per hour on full auto mode. Santosh Narkar proprietor of S.S. Screen Printers says that they produce non-woven bags, shopping bags … we are exclusively into bag making business. Our bags are supplied to various shops in Mumbai.
Patel Arts, Rajkot:
Patel Arts is manufacturer of various type of travel bags, shopping and school bags. Patel Arts also floats its own designer bags in the market in the name and style 'PATEL ARTS”. They have an exclusive showroom under the brand “Bags World, Patel Arts,” in Rajkot as told by Jigar Patel. Patel Arts supplies bags to various sector such as electrical and electronics, kitchen wears, food and FMCGs, engineering, pharma, shopping malls and jewelry shops.
S.K. Enterprise, Kolkata:
Founded in 1949, the Khan Group has been thickly engaged in jute bag printing in single, 2 and 3 colours, which mainly included sacks for tea, sugar, rice packaging. However, now they are engaged in lucrative multi colour and Photo-realistic printing on Jute and Cloth bags. Out of their total production, shopping bags comprise 80% and balance promotional bags which are supplied to large industrial houses, MNCs, Telecom majors, garment exporters, shopping malls, etc. for branding purpose. “We had executed 8.20 lakh bags of single design/single order exclusively for European market,” says Sagir, head of S.K. Enterprise.
 S.K. Enterprise, a flagship of Khan Group of six companies, runs three production units which roll out 7000 bags duly screen printed with multi colours. Currently, the group’s activities include: screen printing on jute, cloth and juco (combo of jute and cotton) bags - shopping and promotional bags. Photo realistic heat transfers printing for jute and cotton bags is their new business. Their immediate plan is to produce printed paper bags.
What the Wikipedia says about Shopping Bags:
”Shopping bags are medium-sized bags, typically around 10–20 litres (2.5–5 gallons) in volume (though much larger versions exist, especially for non-grocery shopping), that are often used by grocery shoppers to carry home their purchases. They can be single-use (disposable), used for other purposes (storage, can liners, etc.) or designed as reusable shopping bags.
Types and typical use of shopping bags vary by country. In many European countries, plastic shopping bags are free and common into the 21st century, but their use is becoming less widespread, partly due to environmental legislation, which has led retailers to charge for single-use plastic shopping bags. According to Wikipedia, Ireland imposed a dedicated plastic bag tax, thus forcing retailers offering plastic bags to charge for them.
 “Reusable shopping bags are increasingly used, e.g. in EU countries where use of single-use plastic shopping bags is in decline. Reusable bags are often made from jute cloth, also known as burlap in the US, but sometimes they are also made from plastic; however these reusable plastic bags are sturdier than single-use plastic shopping bags. In the US, reusable bags are used as a fashion statement or for advertising. In the United States and Canada, single-use plastic shopping bags are common and often free with a purchase. Some retailers, such as department stores, are more likely to provide paper bags to shoppers, whereas supermarkets and grocery stores tend to favour plastic shopping bags. It People are encouraged to have reusable shopping bags, when possible. In an effort to reduce plastic bag use, the city of Toronto requires retailers to charge a minimum CA$0.05 fee for each plastic bag; prompted by the plastic bag charge in Toronto, many national retailers have imposed similar fees on plastic bags in their outlets in other parts of Canada. All of the profits derived from the $0.05 fee go directly to the retailer.”