Thursday, January 8, 2015

Got The Bag Ban Blues? RagBags Offers a Solution.

One of the reasons I think Dallas is such an amazing place to live is that not only do we have larger-than-life personalities and companies changing the landscape of our city, but affecting the world at large as well. Richardson-based Metropak is just such an example. Every inventor is seeking to build a better mousetrap (so to speak). There are generally two approaches: How can I invent a new product that doesn't yet exist to fill a need? OR How I can I recreate something that exists and make it smarter/sleeker/more efficient and all-around, just better? And that's what Metropak has done with a new biodegradable shopping bag alternative called RagBags. CEO Eric Grossman says that 5 years ago about 70% of his company's revenues came from producing paper and plastic bags. Rumblings from the government about a plastic bag ban got his team looking ahead for a solution. "One day I picked up a cloth wipe and immediately thought, 'How can we make this into a bag?' After more than two years and 500 hours of engineering, we have the RagBag."

RagBags website reminds us that for years now, people have been trying to reduce the waste caused by shopping bags. Literally trillions of disposable plastic bags have been thrown into landfills, or wound up floating in the ocean. Paper alternatives require massive amounts of energy and material resources to manufacture, yet are rarely used more than once. Reusable shopping bags seemed to be the solution, but they are mostly made overseas from petroleum-based plastics. Since they aren’t recyclable and don’t biodegrade, such standard reusable bags still end up as plastic waste. Seeing this problem, Metropak set out to create a solution. RagBags are made from a revolutionary new bio-based material that is soft, strong, and absorbent. They can be reused and repurposed, eliminating the need for plastic or paper bags. When or if you do throw them away, they're fully biodegradable. RagBags are so much more than just shopping bags. Their super-absorbent fabric makes them ideal for soaking up spills or daily cleaning around the house. They can be used as hand towels, polishing cloths, trash bags, napkins, or baby bibs. And they’re washable, which means you can reuse them over and over again. Watch the video below to see the full scope of uses for RagBags...


According to a recent interview given to the Dallas Morning News, Metropak manufactures and prints paper and plastic bags for retailers and other businesses, including Office Depot, Fossil, Sprint, Metro PCS, Omni Hotels, American Airlines and Hard Rock Cafe. Grossman doesn’t have a suggested retail price for RagBags. He’s leaving that up to the stores but said it’s much less than the sewn polypropylene bags that are sold for a couple of dollars as an alternative in many stores. He estimates that retailers will price each bag between 50 cents and 75 cents. "RagBags are brand new to the market, and it takes time to educate retailers and consumers on their benefits and uses." Grossman told me. "Currently, RagBags are available at Half Price Books and will soon roll out in Central Market. There are a handful of other retailers that are in the process of developing programs that will be available in the months to come."

Interested in having RagBags design a bag for YOUR company's use? Visit