Not Just Totes for Totes Sa(c)ke – How Green are You?

Nice to hear from you Marcelle.  Reusable shopping bags have become the rage.  My wife just leaves a stack of them in her car.

Name:  Marcelle Bakula, Owner & Original Cold Callin’ Tote Sales Person

Company: SteppingStones (manufacturer of the EcoSac Reusable Shopping Bag System)

What’s your personal definition of greening?

Awareness of human’s impacts on the natural world. It should become a way of life where we are all more conscious (and therefore conscientious) of every personal act and its impact on our planet and resources.

How did you get started in green business?

I have been an “environmentalist” my entire life so it was a natural fit when friends started up this reusable bag business back in 1988.  I became their “cold call” sales person and several years later, they allowed me to buy the company when they moved in a different direction.

Why did you choose to supply

Any way that we can expose more people to the concept of and access to renewable, reusable produce, bulk, and shopping bags, we want to offer it!

What do you and your company do in your own life and operations to walk the walk?

Everything we can! From the “typical” such as recycled paper, printing front and back for invoices/packing lists to low energy light bulbs etc. We also join and support organizations such as organic trade associations, environmental and green organizations, and donating to county-wide non-profits. We are still learning about more ways to be even more green….  Example: this past year we all got our “to-go ware” items so no more take-out containers and bought reusable/sustainable bamboo utensils for lunch!

What is the best greening advice you can give our customers?

Do your best to raise your own consciousness about your own impact on the earth:  driving – can I walk? Can I combine errands? Can I do something for a neighbor to save them a trip?   buying: ask “Do I NEED it? If so, is it “green” If not: “Can I donate this amount of money (instead of buying this product) to provide basics such as food for a hungry child? “Do my friends and family need more stuff?” Find alternative gifts for worthwhile non-profits instead of cheap goods…home: energy-efficient enough? Do I use reusable bags for all my shopping?  Am I pesticide/poison free?

Stop using plastic whenever & wherever you can: every piece of plastic you have ever used is still here and will be for generations to come..

What’s your personal favorite of your products that carries?

The Uno and Duo EuroSac, GlobalGrocer Tote, and GardenSac kits you carry of ours, of course!

What’s been the biggest change in the green sector since you got started?

Lowering of “green” standards. Stores & organizations (even supposedly green ones) jumping immediately to synthetics (nylon, polyproylene & polyethlyne shopping bags) and cheap-from-China bags. The Wal-Mart factor: saying they’re green…but not “truly” – green-washing is abundant.

Do you really think green products make a big difference and why?

I hope they do, gotta try! (my cynical self is honest enough to know that I fear that due to the economy and lack of education, we’re compromising on too many fronts…I’ve known for over 30 years that much needs to be done, but here we are 30 years later & we’re still dragging our feet…

Do you think consumers now are aware green products exist, or is there still a lot more education to do?

Much more education – leaders leading by example…. stop the pendulum from swinging back?! Ex: When the next president, who might be a Republican,  gets into the White House, will he remove the solar panels?!  Take out the garden? go backwards?)

If you could invent a green product that doesn’t exist, what would it be?

Not a product:  a way of living:  don’t allow corporations to ruin the planet (no more gas-guzzlers allowed, no more “non-green” products – no more waste of non-renewable resources – Helium should NOT be allowed for filling balloons. Chemistry council and plastic bag manufacturers (or logging operations) should not be allowed to call the shots!