Are you Thinking of Switching to Jute Bags for your Shopping?
Thankfully the days of getting a dozen single-use plastic bags every time you do your food shopping are gone. Most of us have got pretty good at remembering to take our reusable shopping bags with us when we shop, most/some of the time. And we all know that when we forget we have to either buy new bags or unload the shopping directly into the boot of the car.
When it comes to buying reusable bags there are a few options. You can still get single-use plastic bags, you can get slightly heavier duty plastic bags, you can get big heavy-duty plastic bags, many of which are made at least partly with recycled material. Or you can choose to move away from plastic completely and opt for fabric bags that are generally either made from cotton or jute.
While using reusable plastic is far better than disposable plastic bags they do break, and while they can and should be recycled many don’t make it that far. We have to remember that any plastic we use has come from oil which can never be replaced, so using renewable products that grow from the ground is often considered a much better option.
It is worth noting that compostable bio-plastics do now exist and compostable carrier bags like those from the Co-op make great food waste bags (to the point where I’ve been known to buy extra for this purpose).
So how long will a jute bag last?
While Jute is biodegradable in 1-2 years and can be recycled the real benefit is in how long a jute bag will last. You need to use a jute bag approximately 30 times to ensure it has a lower carbon footprint than a single-use plastic bag, mainly due to the increased weight, however they will last far far longer than this.
Of course, as with anything how long your jute bag lasts depends on how you use it. They don’t much like getting wet, so while handwashing is ok you don’t want to put them in the washing machine, and you need to make sure you dry them out properly if you get caught in the rain.
Generally Jute bags will last for years and still be in good condition which is good news as the more times you use them the better they become in environmental terms.
More Eco-Friendly Reusable Bags
Recycled plastic bags such as those made by Rex London can also be a good option. Made from post-consumer plastic bottles they are strong, available in a great range of styles and sizes including massive bags that are perfect for storage or packing up the car to go camping and little bags that are the perfect size for your lunch.
These bags don’t break down and they are made from plastic but it is recycled plastic and they are very lightweight and versatile.
Paper is another option although paper bags don’t tend to be so reusable (or reusable at all if you get caught in the rain. Trees also take a lot longer to grow than hemp does.
Cotton bags are also an option and are ideal in some instances but hemp is generally cheaper and sturdier and so prefered when it comes to making reusable shopping bags.