Clothing Retailer’s Shopping Bags Turn Inside Out to Become Recycling Mailers

Buy something new, donate something old

Attention, Swedish shoppers: More Rag Bags are on the way!

For now, check out DDB Stockholm's case study video for the sustainability campaign, which generated significant media coverage last year, along with a win at the Epica Awards and three nominations at Cannes.

The initiative, for Swedish fashion brand Uniforms for the Dedicated, features biodegradable shopping bags that can be used to ship unwanted garments to charitable organizations. One thousand bags were produced in a pilot program, and consumers could order them free of charge. The bags are twin-sided. When turned inside out, they become slick mailers, labeled with the addresses of individuals' chosen charities, as well as proper postage.

"I don't have the exact number of returns [in terms of clothing donations], but we have sold out of the bags," DDB Stockholm CEO David Sandstrom tells AdFreak, though more will be in production for spring. "We also have a Rag Bag site, where you as a business can sign up for bags. We got interest for 600,000 bags from different companies."

Unlike some preachy sustainability ventures, Rag Bag scores by embracing consumerism. It creates a realistic framework to nudge folks into making donations, and provides them with a rewarding experience. And a bag. (Until they mail it off with old shirts inside, that is.)

"Our hope is that this will stretch beyond what can be called a campaign," says Sandstrom. "Wouldn't it be great if this became a retail standard?"

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@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.