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Reusable Shopping Bags

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According to statistics the global consumption of plastic bags is between 500 billion and a trillion annually or a million bags every minute. This huge consumption of plastic bags creates an enormous environmental problem. There are two ways of addressing this environmental problem.

Firstly, if we can utilise reusable bags which have a long life span and therefore can be repeatedly reused consumption will be proportionately decreased as compared to the use of single use plastic bags. The second alternative, which I consider below, is to use compostable or biodegradable bags.

If you require reusable bags made from 100% natural plant fibres then see our jute bags collection or cotton bags collection. If you require reusable bags that are available for immediate delivery and are unprinted, then visit our Stock Bags page and don't miss the amazing groundbreaking prices of these bags.

I have listed below some of the various types of reusable bags which are commonly available along with their respective pros and cons.

Reusable Bags

Non Woven Polypropylene bags

Advantages
  • Can be recycled
  • Strong and durable
  • Can be made from recycled materials
  • Chemical resistant
  • Very cheap to produce
  • Better for printing and dyeing than jute or calico bags.

Disadvantages
  • Polypropylene is a form of plastic.
  • Bags are not biodegradable or compostable.
  • Polypropylene is a product of the petrochemical industry.
  • Non renewable resource.
  • Ultimately adds to global plastic pollution if not recycled or disposed of properly.

Reusable bags made from natural jute

Jute is a natural plant fibre, often known as hessian or burlap.

Advantages
  • Natural renewable resource
  • Biodegradable and compostable
  • One of the strongest natural fibres
  • Cultivated
  • Durable
  • Jute crops usually grow in high rainfall areas and require little or no pesticides or additional irrigation.
  • Provides income and employment in developing countries.

Disadvantages
  • Not very resistant to moisture unless chemically treated or laminated.
  • More expensive than non woven polypropylene bags.
  • Normally heavier thicker fabric with increased freight costs compared to polypropylene or cotton.
  • Not so good for printing and dyeing as polypropylene bags.

Organic cotton or calico reusable bags

Conventional or chemically grown cotton requires huge amounts of pesticides so is not an option from an environmental perspective.

Advantages
  • Natural plant fibre.
  • Renewable resource.
  • Commonly available bags not as expensive as jute bags.
  • Strong and durable.

Disadvantages
  • Not water resistant unless chemically treated
  • Unless organically grown, cotton requires a huge amount of pesticide.
  • High water consumption crop.
  • Not as economical as non woven polypropylene bags.
  • Not so good for printing and dyeing as polypropylene bag.

Reusable canvas bags

Advantages
  • Soft fabric
  • Natural plant fibre.
  • Stronger and more durable than cotton bags.

Disadvantages
  • Unless the cotton is grown organically, high levels of pesticides are used
  • Fully processed cotton required extensive additional treatment
  • High water consumption crop.
  • Not as economical as non woven polypropylene bags.
  • Not so good for printing and dyeing as polypropylene bags.

Biodegradable bags or compostable bags

As an alternative to the above reusable bags many companies supply shopping bags made from biodegradable plastics, bioplastics or corn starch based plastics which conform to current standards for compostability or biodegradability. While these bags may compost rapidly under certain environmental conditions, unsuitable conditions will result in more prolonged breakdown and more environmental accumulation of these bags. The anaerobic conditions existing in landfills also does not favour the breakdown of these bags. Additionally, the accumulation of biodegradable bags in litter streams will prevent recycling of other plastics with which they are mixed.

But perhaps the main problem with biodegradable bags is that their short useful life span means consumption of bags would be increased significantly as compared to durable reusable shopping bags. Compared to the use of reusable bags there would therefore be much more litter produced and much more resources and energy used in production.

Ideally we either need natural biodegradable reusable bags which may be disposed of with no residual environmental effects, or, on the other hand, we need bags which are 100% recyclable and in this case of course, we would also need a high degree of community co-operation to achieve a high recycling rate. Since contamination of litter streams with biodegradable materials makes recycling impossible the two options are incompatible unless this contamination can be prevented.

It is for the above reasons that most experts today recommend the use of durable reusable bags.

See Albury Enviro Bags' selection of reusable non woven bags, jute bags, and cotton bags.

Choose-a-bag, Eco bags
Eco bags
Backpacks
Shopping bags, Backpacks
Bottle bags
Shopping bags, Bottle bags
Christmas bags
Shopping bags, Christmas bags
Coffee cup bags
Shopping bags, Coffee cup bags
Conference bags
Shopping bags, Conference bags
Cooler bags
Shopping bags, Cooler bags
Cosmetic bags
Shopping bags, Cosmetic bags
Didgeridoonas
Didgeridoonas
Drawstring bags
Shopping bags, Drawstring bags
Fair Trade bags
Fair Trade Shopping bags, Fair Trade bags
Folding bags
Shopping bags, Folding bags
Garment bags
Shopping bags, Garment bags
Gift Bags
Shopping bags, Gift Bags
Library bags
Shopping bags, Library bags
Magazine bags
Shopping bags, Magazine bags
Messenger bags
Shopping bags, Messenger bags
Potato bags
Shopping bags, Potato bags
Promotional bags
Shopping bags, Promotional bags
Satchels
Shopping bags, Satchels
School bags
Shopping bags, School bags
Shopping bags
Shopping bags, green Shopping bags
Shoulder bags
Shopping bags, Shoulder bags
Specialty Bags
Shopping bags, Specialty Bags
Stock unprinted bags
Shopping bags, Stock unprinted bags
Sushi Bags
Shopping bags, Sushi Bags, Specialty Bags
Tote Bags
Shopping bags, Tote Bags
Trade show bags
Shopping bags, Trade show bags
Eco bags
Canvas
Shopping bags, Canvas
Cotton
Shopping bags, Cotton
Hemp
Shopping bags, Hemp
Juco
Shopping bags, Juco
Jute
Shopping bags, Jute
Nettle
Shopping bags, Nettle
Non woven PP
Shopping bags, Non woven PP
Oil Skin
Didgeridoonas, Oil Skin
PET
Shopping bags, PET
Eco bags

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