Yesterday, I read on the Biofriendly blog about Ziploc’s new product evolve sandwich and storage bags. They’re “made with 25 percent less plastic and manufactured using wind power.” Great, right?

The Biofriendly blog asks a thought-provoking question:

If Ziploc is really serious about making a change for the environment, why aren’t all their bags made with 25% less plastic, packaged in recycled paperboard boxes and manufactured with wind power?
Good question. Why not just change all their bags to a more eco-friendly option? I have a few guesses why.
  • The evolve bags probably cost more to make than the regular Ziplocs. They most likely pass that cost increase on to the consumer. Some consumers are unwilling to pay more for eco-friendly products. Ziploc would lose customers.
  • Ziploc is trying to increase its customer base by luring the eco-conscious. They may hope to bring back some consumers who have stopped using their product (and others like it) by offering an eco-friendly version.
  • Lots of companies are releasing sustainability reports now. Consumers and investors want to know what the companies they give their money to are doing to be more sustainable, whether or not they personally purchase the greener products the companies create. Having a product like this looks good on a sustainability report.
Now these are all guesses, and it occurs to me that none of my guesses have anything to do with Ziploc actually trying to be greener. Guess I’m a pessimist in this instance.

I’m a big believer in “every little bit helps,” because all of those little bits add up to one big bit. So if you’re someone who regularly uses these types of sandwich or storage bags and choses to switch to the more eco-friendly version, there’s some good in that.

But, if you’re someone who has gotten away from these disposable types of food storage bags and have embraced reusable containers or even reusing other types of bags like bread bags and cereal box liners, the 25 percent less plastic version of these bags still aren’t a really great green option. They are difficult, but not impossible to reuse. They are difficult to recycle because most curbside recycling programs don’t take them. They still take new resources to make, they are not made from recycled plastic.

What do you think? Why do you think that Ziploc is making these an option and not the norm? And, do you think they are a good option? 

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Ziploc’s evolve sandwich and storage bags
Ziploc creates a greener sandwich bag, but have they gone far enough?