At Albury Enviro Bags we support the use of natural fibres for the production of reusable shopping bags and for this reason we have been authorised to display the UN Year of Natural Fibres 2009 logo.
In Australia the Year of Natural Fibres has an undeservedly low profile with little visible public support from governments and environmental organisations. In fact, when it comes to reusable bags it seems many politicians, environmental groups and major retailers have opted to support petrochemical industry derived non-biodegradable non woven polypropylene plastic green bags rather than biodegradable natural fibre bags such as jute bags. While non woven polypropylene bags have their environmental advantages, especially in comparison to single use plastic checkout bags, they are still plastic bags and they are not biodegradable, unlike natural jute bags. Experts acknowledge, that like single use plastic checkout bags, non woven polypropylene bags will add to environmental plastic accumulation.
As a result of these facts various experts have emphasised the environmental advantages of natural fibre jute bags as compared to non woven polypropylene bags, facts which have been considered in our article “Natural Jute Shopping Bags or Synthetic Polypropylene Plastic”.
Considering the undeniable environmental advantages of natural fibre bags and also the fact that 2009 is the Year of Natural Fibres, the current popularity of non woven polypropylene plastic bags is strange from an environmental, and also a social, perspective. Even Sustainability Victoria has claimed “the reusable, non-woven plastic (polypropylene) “Green Bag’ was found to achieve the greatest environmental benefits”. The non woven polypropylene plastic green bag is ubiquitous in the Australian community and has received overwhelming support from governments, environmental groups, and large retailers. Even Planet Ark formerly supplied their own range of non woven polypropylene plastic bags (see Single Use Plastic Shopping Bags or Durable Enviro Bags?). Perhaps cost is the bottom line for many and not the environment.
Whatever the reason for the current obsession with reusable non woven plastic bags we agree with Ipswich City Council who have described jute bags as “the logical ‘next step’ for socially-concerned shoppers and retailers” (see Natural Jute Shopping Bags or Synthetic Polypropylene Plastic?).
Given the fact that natural fibre jute bags are considerably more expensive than non woven bags, it is clear that those companies and organisations that make the financial sacrifice and utilise natural fibre bags are truly leading the way in regard to the environment and setting an example for all to follow.