A tote bag is a large and often unfastened bag with parallel handles that emerge from the sides of its pouch. The word tote is probably African in origin and came into English via Gullah. Tote bags are often used as reusable shopping bags. They are also used in trade shows and other similar events where they are bundled with other products and given away to attendees. That is why they are such a popular item in the promotional industry. I know that every year when I go to the trade shows overseas I always come back with heaps of tote bags. They give them away at the entrance which we then use to collect catalogue. I go back a few times and get some more which I then use when going shopping. I have been using them for years and they save me having to buy a bag at the counter.
The typical tote bag is made of sturdy cloth with handles so that they can be carried. Common fabrics include heavy canvas, cotton and non-woven fabric. Jute is another traditional material, though less popular. In recent decades, heavy nylon and other easy-care synthetics have become common, although these may degrade with prolonged sun-exposure. Many of today’s inexpensive or free totes are often made from recycled matter, from minimally-processed natural fibres, or from byproducts of processes that refine organic materials. Non-woven material is probably the most popular in the promotional industry as they are so cheap. They are also easy to brand with a logo because of the consistency. They are usually screen printed or even digital printed for multi-colour prints.
Tote bags are especially more popular now since the supermarkets in Australia stop issuing free plastic bags. Now instead they sell bags at the counter which are expensive and can only handle a few uses. People that buy them either don’t have tote bags or forget to bring them. I leave mine in the boot of the car so that I don’t forget them. When I do forget to bring them in the supermarket with me then I just pack my shopping into the trolley and pack it in bags when I get to the car. That way I don’t have to waste any money on bags.