A Guide To Choosing Reusable And Recycled Bags
in Recycled Bags by Dave

Recycled Bags

Did you know that the worldwide annual consumption of disposable plastic bags falls somewhere between 500 billion one trillion? This works out to be around a million a minute, which is a shocking number when you consider that the plastic they’re made from doesn’t break down. To counter this, we have been seeing an increase in the number of people choosing reusable and recycled bags instead. We have outlined the main options here:

  • Polypropylene and polyethylene
    Both of these are a form of plastic, however, they can be recycled (which makes them a far greener option). On top of this, they’re also strong and durable, chemical resistant and relatively affordable to produce. Many prefer to steer clear of these recycled bags, however, as they’re made from fossil fuels and low quality ones are known to wear out quickly.
  • Jute
    This is a plant fibre that can be spun into a coarse, strong thread. It’s often referred to as hessian, so keep this in mind. It is one of the strongest natural fibres available, it’s biodegradable, it’s durable and is relatively cheap to buy. Jute’s drawbacks include a lack of resistance to moisture (unless chemically treated) and the fact that most products are imported.
  • Calico
    This is usually a cotton fabric that comes unbleached and not fully processed. The lack of bleaching and processing makes it a greener option (as fewer chemicals are used), and it’s relatively cheap to produce. The growth of cotton, however, is very water intensive and the fabric isn’t water resistant unless its been chemically treated.
  • Cotton/Canvas
    A fabric that is fairly self-explanatory, cotton or canvas is known for being incredibly soft, durable and strong. Although not the most green option, the bags are reusable. Keep in mind that cotton is a water intensive crop and, unless it has been grown organically, high levels of pesticides are used. Fully processed cotton also requires extensive treatment.
  • Hemp
    This word might stir up associations with marijuana but, in terms of textiles, it’s actually a plant from the same family without the hallucinogenic properties. It is incredibly strong, durable and resistant to rot. Plus, it can grow in poor soil with little water. Unfortunately, it can be expensive due to resistance on the part of the government to use it.
  • Cloth Scrap
    These recycled bags are made up of repurposed materials – they’re often sewn together from old clothing and fabric that would otherwise be thrown out or used as rags. This is a great option if you’re trying to go green and is actually something that you can make yourself! Many people tend to steer clear of them because they aren’t as pretty as other options.


As you can see, just about all reusable and recycled bags have strong benefits – but they usually have a few disadvantages, too. Unfortunately, there is very little we can do that doesn’t have some sort of negative environmental impact. No matter which of these bags you ultimately choose, ensure that you look for quality – the more you have to buy, the bigger the associated impact. You want to ensure that they’re going to stand the test of time.