Innovation That Matters

District turns its own banners into bags


Recycling advertising banners to make shopping bags isn’t new, as Swiss Freitag and UK-based Banner Bags—among others—have been doing for some time. What’s interesting about a new effort from Vancouver’s Commercial Drive Business Society, however, is that the district’s advertisers themselves are the ones doing the recycling. Each year the Commercial Drive Business Society prints nearly 400 32″ x 60″ nylon street banners to decorate its shopping neighbourhood. Rather than retiring the banners at the end of their season—and sending them to landfills—the group has begun turning them into reusable nylon shopping bags instead. Available in 10 different colours, the long-handled bags are available in 2 sizes—priced at CDN 9.95 and CDN 14.95, respectively. Remanufacturing is done by Dream Designs, a housewares and clothing manufacturer that originated on Commercial Drive. By recycling its banners into bags, the society figures it has avoided 7,059 pounds, or 3.53 tons, of CO2 emissions; kept 128 kg (281.6 lb) of nylon out of landfills; saved 25,456,640 BTUs of energy—enough to provide electricity to an average Vancouver home for over 10 months; and freed up 543 trees to capture and store CO2 from other sources for a full year. In addition, proceeds from the bags go toward the development of new green spaces in the neighbourhood. Perhaps best of all, though, is that the goodwill from all this goes straight back to the advertisers themselves. A win-win for everyone involved, and one to emulate in commercial districts around the world! Spotted by: Penny Watson P.S. Need more inspiration and examples of the new trends in green business? Check out’s current briefing on eco-iconic, eco-embedded and eco-boosters.



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