Q: How can I see what kind of impact a Billboard Ecology fundraiser could have?

A: Click on our unique B.E. Calculator to calculate much your group can raise and the impressive environmental impacts your involvement can have http://www.billboardecology.com/calculator.cfm

Q: What are Billboard Ecology tote bags made from?

A: We can use any type of billboard or poster material, including retired Eco-Flexx™ billboards. This new material, developed by Circle Graphics is a 100% recyclable polyethylene substrate for billboards. Many companies are now switching to more environmentally friendly substrates like Circle Graphics Eco-Flexx™

Q: What is the response that your participating Outdoor Advertisers get from making their retired materials into new products?

A: Every time we show our products to someone, the response is some version of "coolest thing ever." This emotional and positive response carries over to the relationship consumers have with brands who engage Billboard Ecology to reclaim and repurpose their materials.

Q: Why use my own tote bag? Aren’t the plastic bags at the grocery store recyclable?

A: The United States alone consumes 100 Billion plastic bags each year, according to the Wall Street Journal. Sadly, less than 1-2% of these bags get recycled. Using your own tote bag is the right thing to do on too many levels to count.

Q: Can I get a particular totebag from a specific advertiser from Billboard Ecology?

A: Currently you can purchase a Chipotle Lunch Tote made entirely of retired Chipotle billboards and banners, and we are working on partnerships with several key advertisers that will create more brand-specific lines like this in the future.

Q: My school isn't listed on your order form pulldown. Can I still make a purchase and support a particular school?

A: Yes! If you want us to add your school, just email the name of the school, city, and state and it's done within 24 hours. If you want to make a purchase today but ensure a school will get their 30% commission from your order, just note the school name/city/state in the "comment" section of your order. PLEASE NOTE:The pulldown to choose a school only appears when you are in the ordering process, inside the online store.

Q: I am an outdoor advertiser. Can I send Billboard Ecology my retired billboard materials to make totes or other items?

A: Yes. We have a corporate direct program that allows us to cut and sew products out of your own materials, and we already work with most of the billboard vendors in the United States so quarantining your retired materials and arranging for shipping is not a problem. We can also label them with your own woven labels for an added branding opportunity, or for special events. Please contact us for more information.

Q: The Billboard Ecology school fundraising program sounds awesome, and a great alternative to chocolate bars. So what’s the catch?

A: There is no catch. School fundraising is the cornerstone of our mission, helping young people understand how things are made, the impacts our decisions have on the environment, and more. Our calculator can show you how many gallons of gasoline are saved by using your own tote bags, never mind reducing strain on the landfills with so much waste from single-use bags.

Q: Are there promo codes available for your online store?

A: We upload promo codes often on our Facebook page. Search Billboard Ecology, "like" us and you will always get a deal.

Q: Are you planning to add other materials to your reclamation programs?

A: We think we are doing the most good by keeping our focus upon the outdoor advertising industry. We do use other reclaimed materials (such as bicycle inner tubes) in some of our designs and collaborations.

Q: I always choose paper bags when I go to the store, so why should I use a tote?

A: Paper bags are, in some ways, even worse than plastic bags from an environmental perspective. Just because they are recyclable, and just because you can replant trees, doesn’t mean they are a true “green” option. The amount of energy used to produce a paper bag is greater than the amount used to produce a plastic bag.

Q: The reuseable bags available at my grocery store only cost two dollars. How come yours cost more?

A: The reusable totes available at many stores are a convenience for shoppers who want to make a difference, but are not necessarily a truly green option. Yes, they eliminate the need to take single-use bags, but the majority of reusable bags available are produced from materials made of virgin natural resources (like oil) and most are produced overseas. We make our products here in the USA. (Many stores sell their branded totes at a "loss" because they justify it as a branding expense, e.g. getting their logo in your hands)

Q: What about recycled soda bottle and other tote bags, like the ones my local market sells?

A:For one thing, it takes a great amount of heat and energy to recycle soda bottles or other post-consumer goods into a material that can be converted to a woven fabric, creating its own set of environmental impacts. For another, most of those bags are made in Asia and imported, giving them an unknown provenance and a large carbon footprint (think of the fuel used to run the ship that carried the container of cheap bags). We think the Billboard Ecology bags, made from repurposed materials that already served their initial function, are the greenest possible solution at a reasonable price.

Q: How much money could my school make doing a Billboard Ecology bag sale?

A: Our fundraising program is about more than money – although we know every school, public or private, needs funds. If your school sells 300 B.E. bags, it will divert almost 3,000 square feet (about 6 billboards) of material from the landfill, eliminate the need for over 46,000 plastic bags, and you will raise more than $1200.

Q: Is Billboard Ecology school fundraising different than the established options?

A: We offer schools and similar groups the same 2-4 week “open season” of selling our products. However, at the end of your program, friends and family in other places – even your own school’s parents and faculty – can continue to buy bags from us online, and designate your school as the beneficiary of our giveback program. Imagine how happy your principal or PTA director will be when a random check arrives months after your sale ends.

Q: I saw a recycled billboard tote at a boutique store for $45 recently. This has to be a better quality bag than yours, right?

A: Wrong. We put our quality and style up against any high-priced billboard bag. We believe that producing tote bags in the USA, making a reasonable profit, and helping educate children about the choices they will make is an honorable thing to do. We sell our bags at a great price and accomplish all of the above. The “chic” billboard totes you reference – some of which are US billboards that are container-shipped to Asia for production and then shipped back – have a profit margin that we feel is excessive.

Q: I want to use your tote as a beach bag for the summer. Is this a good option?

A: Billboard Ecology totes are a perfect beach or pool bag, and our new Beach Bag is getting rave reviews from Martha's Vineyard to La Jolla. Sunscreen or juice bottle leaked inside? No big deal – turn it inside out, spray it with the hose, and good to go.

Q: I am a retailer and would love to resell your B.E. tote bags. Can I open a wholesale account?

A: Yes! We are more than happy to sell you bags at wholesale, and offer low minimums and easy account setup. Please contact us for more info.

Q: You guys seem more like capitalists than enviros – are you for real?

A: We reside at the intersection of capitalism and sustainability. And that’s the point. It’s important to make a profit in what you do for a living, but it’s also important to give back (like we do for schools, teams and scouts). It’s also important to consider the environment and make smart choices in our daily lives – but you can do this without preaching, taking drastic measures, or going “off the grid.”

Q: I am a large format printer. Does Billboard Ecology work with various vendors on its programs?

A: Yes, we work with large format (billboard/banner) printers, sign posting companies, outdoor advertisers, advertising agencies - anyone involved in any aspect of the billboard business who wants a turnkey recycling, corporate social responsibility, or fabrication solution.

Q: I still need plastic bags to pick up dog poop, don’t I?

A: We love dogs. When you are out on a walk with your dog, of course you should pick up his poop – but there are great corn-based, certified biodegradable options you can purchase and use. As for poop in your backyard, better to get a poop-scoop and toss it, or get a poop composting device.

Q: I have several tote bags but I always seem to leave them in the car. How can I change my habits?

A: This is the essence of our school fundraising program. Once a child understands the benefits of using your own tote bag for shopping, he or she will shop this way forever. In the meantime, since adults have a harder time changing their habits, you have the kids to remind you to use the tote bags. My daughter will make me walk back to the car to get mine when I forget, and so will your kids.

Q: My client is an outdoor advertiser. Even if she doesn’t have any need to make tote bags, can we arrange to donate her company’s retired billboards to Billboard Ecology?

A: Yes, we have a reclamation program and in many cases we would be happy to accept your client’s retired materials, or we can point you toward our recycling partners. Even our scrap and scrim gets recycled into items like railroad ties and playground equipment. Contact us for more information.