Sustainability has been the name of the game for Sheffield based eco-friendly printing company Bag It Don’t Bin It (BIDBI) from day one, producing custom-printed reusable branded cotton tote bags. Jill Theobald caught up with MD Daya Singh to find out more
How has BIDBI moved with the times to embrace the sustainability and environmental focus?
From the outset BIDBI has been at the forefront to help consumers reduce their use of plastic bags. Over the years we have continually looked at our supply chain and manufacturing process as a whole, enabling us to reduce our packaging and raw material usage within our business as well as consolidating shipments, be it import or export, to reduce our carbon footprint, too.
We insist on using farmers who grow and harvest cotton in a sustainable and responsible way.
In addition, we have recently purchased more energy efficient equipment and our UK factory has been accredited by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). This certification carries strict environmental and social responsibility guidelines with codes of practices to follow, plus we work very closely with the Fairtrade Organisation. Subsequently, we introduced new ranges of Fairtrade and organic products.
When did you start offering these products and why was it important for you as a business to do so?
We have always offered our clients the option of using Fairtrade certified cotton and non-virgin cotton. However, as consumer awareness grew over the years, we launched our first specialised Fairtrade range in 2017 in a response to the burgeoning interest from consumers wanting to know where their products originate. Thus, being associated with both the Fairtrade Organisation (FTO) and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), ensured traceability for our bags which is key for many clients – as the shift in consumer habits showed people are interested in the ethical credentials of the products they are buying.
For BIDBI, it was critical to have the ability to supply our customers with an ethically accredited bag. As a result, our new Fairtrade and Organic cotton range of bags was launched in 2019. The collection included various options which helped BIDBI to stand out as being one of the first in our industry to stock and print this extensive range without products losing authenticity.
How do you view Sheffield City Region (SCR) in terms of businesses being proactive about exploring alternative / sustainable products such as yours?
As a business, the help and support given to us from day one has been tremendous from all parties involved within this region. Over the past few years, BIDBI has seen a huge amount of investment which gave rise to growth and new job creation in all areas of our business.
As a result we have decided to stay within Sheffield City Region as the business continues to expand – we feel it’s important to keep the young vibrant spirit our of culture by staying central in a city where investment and growth has been high on the agenda.
We are hoping to partner with Sheffield City Council next year to see if we can look to start up a new project called “Green Friday”. This will be an alternative to “Black Friday”, whereby businesses look to make donations to help plant more trees in and around our region.
Anything we can do to help our environment will better us!
Is this an area you will be continuing to invest in? What are your future plans?
Sustainability is one of the main focuses of our business, we sell this message through our products and how we conduct ourselves as a business.
It will always be an area we continue to invest in, launching larger ranges of FTO or recycled products, plus looking into ways to reduce our impact on the environment through investing in more energy efficient machinery and looking for alternative renewable energy sources.
We need to help educate our prospective and existing clients to source products that have genuine ethical provenance, moving away from cheaper, non-audited factories, of which many have no social compliance policies and selling inferior products.