Monday, 2 April 2012

B for Bags for life

The letter B takes us headlong into the consumer world of Bags for life. And what a world there is out there! Take this Firebox product:
All this ethical shopping/eco-friendly malarkey is great news for workers, communities and, ultimately, the planet. But when it comes to fashion, accessories and keeping things cool, you don't want to look like some yoghurt-weaving hippie; you want to look like a conscientious shopper/picnicker with a sense of individuality and style. And that's where Recycled Juice Bags come in. 

The move from landfill plastic bags - 500 billion plastic carrier bags are used worldwide each year- to more environmentally friendly products has slowly taken place over the last 15 years or so with many countries reducing or banning plastic bags to encourage great responsibility on the part of the buyer. Plastic bags where they are used are also more likely to biodegrade in a few years though probably not completely. It may not have gone far enough in the UK yet but perhaps like me you have collected a whole tangle of bags that now loiter in the understairs cupboard? 
some of my bags for life
There are some interesting points made about jute bags in a recent BBC Radio 4 programme “In Our Time”. One was that you need to use a natural fibre shopping bag 130 times to make up for the extra energy required to manufacture it compared to a single use plastic bag. If you reuse your plastic carrier 10 times you would have to use an equivalent jute bag 1300 times! Paper bags are seen as a greener alternative to plastic ones. But although paper degrades more quickly than plastic and comes from a renewable source paper bags use between 4 and 6 times more energy to produce, are 6 times heavier and take up to 10 times more space and this means higher carbon emissions during their transportation and production. As most paper comes from tree pulp, the impact on forests if all bags were made from paper would be enormous. Read more here.

Nothing is ever simple is it?


  1. In France, supermarkets don't provide carrier bags - you have to bring your own. It's murder if you forget your bags - you have the whole week's shopping rolling around loose in the boot of the car!

  2. Huh, its never as simple as it first appears is it? A great, great post.

  3. I'm stopping by from the challenge...A very useful post, Susan! Thanks for enlightening me. Enjoy the blogging fun!

  4. I saw your name right above mine and thought I should stop in and say hello. Even more so, your ECO thoughts for this challenge intrigue me as I attempt to save the world on my own. *chuckles*
    I personally use recyclable bags and hate the plastic ones. I wish I could get others to see this point of view. At least I have managed to get them to recycle the bags as well as plastic bottles.
    I will be back to see what you have to say tomorrow.
    Come by if you wish.
    Peace...Naila Moon

  5. Great post! No, nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

  6. Very informative and thought provoking. There are no easy answers.

  7. This was so interesting. I had to call all my kids into my office and share.

  8. So plastic bags aren't that bad at all when compared to paper bags!

    This is me, Duncan D. Horne, visiting you from the A-Z challenge, wishing you all the best throughout April and beyond.

    Duncan In Kuantan

  9. Hmm...gonna work harder at remembering my bags!