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When reusable is not usable! - 12/11/2009

The study about reusable bags was presented on World Usability Day 2009, for which the theme was “Designing for a sustainable world”. The theme encouraged thinking about how to create products that are both environmentally and user friendly.

Our team of specialists decided to analyze some models of reusable bags, available for sale in supermarkets in São Paulo, to check to what degree these bags meet consumers’ wants and needs.

We believe that the easier, more practical, more secure and more comfortable reusable bags are, the greater the chances are of Brazilian consumers abandoning plastic bags, which are so bad for the environment.

In Brazil reducing the use of plastic bags is currently a very hot topic. There are numerous government and organization campaigns to try to change attitudes and habits. However, these campaigns face challenges because Brazilian consumers have used plastic bags for many years and many still go to the supermarket once a month, buying enough to stock up from the rest of the month. Therefore, it is important that alternatives to reduce the use of plastic bags, such as reusable bags, are suitable for a Brazilian market.

The study involved observing consumers packing their purchases in various shops as well as conducting tests in our lab on 5 different models of reusable bags. Ten consumers were invited to come to our lab and pack 16 products into the 5 different bags.

The usability tests showed the positive and negative points, in the consumers’ eyes, of each of the 5 reusable bags tested.

During our visits to the 4 supermarkets we noticed that many consumers did not see the reusable bags for sale in the shops, because they are not in a good location and have poor displays.

Summary to download

We prepared a summary of the results and our recommendations on how to make reusable bags more user friendly, and consequently more environmentally friendly.

Download the summary of the study, “When reusable is not usable!”

To find out more about the study, please contact us.

Media Coverage

Our study was the topic of an article in the newspaper O Globo on the 11/11/2009. The article, called “Consumidores reprovam bolsas reutilizáveis” ("Consumers disapprove of reusable bags"), was published in the Economy section of the newspaper.

The Akatu Institute, one of the most credible NGOs in Brazil, published an article on their web site with the results of our study and the main recommendations for supermarkets and consumers.

For more details, please read our news.

A consumer testing different types of reusable bags for carrying purchases.

See also

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