Interesting Facts about Reusable bag : eco-friendly or environmental risk?

Plastic bag has been the major source of problem in our river streams and clogging most of the landfills in different part of the world.  The harm it cause in our environment creates a vast impact of the future we are heading.

Since, i have came to know this fact, i have tried my best to do my part to use reusable bag or most commonly known as eco-bag or green bag (most of them were colored green).  But while browsing the net for some relative green ideas, an interesting facts about reusable bag was presented that made me think again if this eco-bag is as green as i have believe to be.  Study shows that even reusable bags carry environmental risk and some reusable bags contain bacteria that poses a big risk on our health.

Eco-bags has been a fashion trend of today. Green is a trend today and many people go with the trend.  Supermarkets, shopping mall, brands and different governments  have created their own eco-bag to promote and encourage the use of reusable bag . Many have different collection of eco-bags but are they really just for collection or is these bags really served their purpose?  Many apparel and shoes brands made a big contribution on making reusable bag a fashion trend of today and big names in fashion world have created their own version of reusable bags.  Now, the big question for me, is reusable bag really just for trends or is it really an effective solution to reduce waste and save our environment?

First, let us identify different kinds of reusable bag or eco-bag now available in the market.  Reusable bags came from different sustainable materials;

various eco-bags

Hemp:  Hemp eco-bags are made out of super strong natural product, which is the hemp. Products made from this are more stronger and can hold their shape.

A cannabis plant that was used for many industrial purposes such as textiles, biodegradable plastics, body products, health foods and even bio-fuel. 

Organic cotton or Reycled Cotton –  Many reusable bags found on the market today is made out of cotton.  Organic cotton is basically cotton but without use of fertilizers or pesticides.

Recyled Cotton –   Cotton recycling is much more environmentally friendly because it does not use any new cotton, dyes or harsh materials and less harmful in the environment because it uses less water and human energy.

Recycled billboards or banners  – Old billboards and banners made into new reusable bag

Reusable bag from Walmart made out of recycled plastic

Recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE or plastic #1) – many plastic bottles are made out of this and one of the most effective product for recycling.  Many companies especially in US made reusable bags out of  PETE because it is more long lasting and durable.

Risks of Reusable Bags

Now, a US based news  in 2010 that there are certain reusable bags found to have a big content of lead (and we all know that lead is a highly toxic  component that can poison and even lead to death)  Many well known supermarkets and shopping center have recalled their reusable bag after finding out on investigation that their bags have lead.

Study also shows that when you forget to clean or wash those reusable bags , bacteria can accumulate and poses a big problems and hazards  for your health.

The Big argument:  Plastic or reusable bags:

Now, the big arguments remains , are we really saving Mother Earth by banning plastics and switching to reusable bag?  Plastics have known for many uses and if we are really seeing it as an environment problem, why is it many companies worldwide still produces it?  If littering is the problem then I think the governments should make the proper awareness and a strong enforcement to do so.

Plastic bags in Manila bay (image via web)

I guess, the correct term is to be a responsible citizen.  We are well aware that plastic is a big problem and yet many people still throw them just everywhere thus adding up the problem.   (it’s really sad and annoying)

Let’s look on what Bob Lilienfeld, editor of the Use Less Stuff says about reusable bags;

In the big picture, he says, the big fuss around shopping bags is really just a distraction.

“The bag is not the environmental bogey-person that everybody thinks it is,” he says. “If you look at the entire grocery package that you bought, the bag may account for 1 to 2 percent of the environmental impact.

“The other packaging may account for 7 percent. Ninety percent is accounted for by the products you buy. That’s where all the environmental impact is.”

I guess that he gives a good point on this matter.  Reusable bags makes a big impression and does help our environment but let us look at the big picture too,  how many percentage of your grocery or shopping loot  poses a big risk on the environment or on your health too?

Just like any habit.  It takes time to get into it.  Use reusable bag in a proper way.  Before you leave the house , make sure you have them in your bag or in your car because you might not no the time you need one.  For me, reusable bag offers a lot of benefits rather than plastic bag but of course,  attitude is the answer for our environmental problem.  A sustainable use for everything not just in reusable bag  is the best solution.  What do you think?  Is reusable bag really eco-friendly or environmental risk?

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  1. I guess it depends on what the reusable or green bags are made of. It is up to us to read the labels and know the materials. If they are made out of items that are safe to the environment and are made of natural materials, then I would say it is good and safe. I make my own grocery bags and just wash them every time they are dirty.

  2. I know, plastic bags are very difficult to get rid of but yet so many people use them all the time. 🙁

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