A reusable bag, often called a ‘bag for life’, is a type of bag for carrying your shopping items that is durable to be reused several times.
It is the alternative to using a plastic bag, which are not able to be recycled and are disposable.
Plastic bags were first introduced in 1977 and now account for four out of every five bags handed out at supermarket stores.
Most plastic bags are made from non-renewable resources like polyethylene, which is made from crude oil and natural gas. They are disliked due to the fact that they create pollution in lakes, rivers and oceans.
That is why the reusable bag has been growing immensely in popularity over the last few years to replace it.
It originally started in 2000, when the ‘green’ movement began its momentum and bag manufacturers started producing as early as the 1990s.
Used mainly for shopping, they are presently available in supermarkets and clothing shops.
REUSABLE BAG MATERIAL
These packable bags were made from all sorts of materials from cotton to nylon. They require less waste of natural resources, with fewer carbon dioxide emissions produced.
Throughout the ‘90s polypropylene was used, as well as non-woven PP. The search for a cost-effective, durable material is ever-growing; and nowadays, they are also made from fabric such as canvas, woven synthetic fibres, or a thick plastic that can be used repeatedly.
As stated, the late ‘90s really took off for reusable bags as according to the United States International Trade Commission Import Database; almost 3 billion bags were imported into the US.
The popularity in this environmentally friendly trend occurred in other countries world-wide too including the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.
Even laws have been passed supporting its usage! Cities in provinces in the US, Mexico, the UK and Australia have recently approved legislation and many have banned throw-away shopping bags. Some governments started to impose taxes on distribution of disposable plastic bags and are regulating the use of them.
The bags are not just a legal requirement though; they are also a fashion trend. Reusable shopping bags have been customised over the years to create personality and now they can come in all sorts of sizes, colours and themes.
Famous designers and fashion brand companies are promoting their original shopping bags and releasing new designs constantly. British designer Anya Hindmarch’s “I’m Not A Plastic Bag” (an unbleached cotton bag) sold out in one day.
USE IN THE UK AND IRELAND
Some bags which are sold in the supermarkets cost around 10p per bag and often have designs relating to nature and the environment. Because the bags are recycled the retailer earns a small amount of money per bag. Loyalty schemes can include giving customer points for bringing their own bags, with the reward of discounts and coupons as incentives to use reusable bags.
Waitrose’ was the first supermarket to use them in the UK and in 2008 Marks and Spencer gave each customer a bag for life for free.
Apollo Bags was the first company in the United Kingdom to introduce the popular shopping bag with a rubber-based biodegradable lining which will degrade within our lifetime.
In Ireland, they were introduced when the Plastic Bag Environmental Levy was brought in to reduce the massive amount of disposable bags being used annually. Bags costing 70 euro cents or more are exempt from the levy.
So be eco-friendly with one of Ulster Weavers array of fantastic packable bags! You can now shop in style with a choice of canvas, PVC or Microfibre bags with dozens of designs to choose from for every purpose. Never again will you have to hang your head in shame by using a plastic bag.