Reusable Shopping Bag Materials: Which is the Best? (As Seen on Big Brands)
Reusable Shopping Bag Materials: Which is the Best? (As Seen on Big Brands)

With multiple states across the U.S. banning plastic bags, big retailers had to switch to paper bags. While paper bags are biodegradable and compostable, they may not be as sustainable as many believe them to be. This is because their production involves cutting down trees and using toxic chemicals. If that’s the case, what’s the next best thing? 

Reusable shopping bags are becoming a popular alternative and may even be more sustainable than plastic and paper bags. But you might be wondering, what are reusable bags made of? 

Reusable Bag Materials

  1. Cotton
  2. Recycled PET bottles
  3. Hemp
  4. Jute
  5. Polypropylene
  6. Bamboo

Reusable bags come in many different materials, each with its own advantages. It’s helpful to know what they are made of to avoid buying low-quality products that are not as sustainable as you thought. Continue reading to find out which reusable bag material is the best for you.

1. Cotton

You’re bound to have used several cotton materials, especially in clothing. The material can be used in different applications mainly because, as a fabric, it’s very breathable, soft, and low maintenance. 

Cotton can be either traditional, organic, or recycled. Traditional cotton needs to undergo intense chemical processes to be usable for different applications. On the other hand, organically grown cotton uses more low-impact methods that preserve the soil’s fertility. There’s also recycled cotton, a mix of the two types and considered the most sustainable.  

Cotton shopping bags come in various weights, from 5 to 12 ounces. They’re durable but still take a few years to biodegrade properly. Cotton will be a no-brainer if you’re looking for a familiar, environmentally-friendly material. Aesop has recently adopted cotton—a 60-40 blend of recycled and organic—in their shopping bags in an effort to be more environmentally conscious.

2. Recycled PET bottles

With at least 14 million tons of plastic dumped into the ocean every year, any effort to lessen plastic usage helps the environment. One product that makes good use of discarded plastics is recycled plastic tote bags.

Reusable shopping bags made of recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles help close the loop on these non-biodegradable products. Recycled plastics make a durable tote bag that takes 33% less energy to produce and manufacture. 

One of the most well-known brands to use recycled PET bottles is Adidas. The brand produced a widely popular line of sneakers made of 11 plastic.  

3. Hemp

Hemp is a great choice if you want a breathable, lightweight, and earthy material. 

Growing hemp doesn’t require much land, pesticides, or even fertilizer. In fact, it’s one of the few plants that nourish the soil around it while it grows. Hemp is also one crop where each part has an application. The fiber from its stem, for instance, is used to weave lightweight yet durable bags three times stronger than cotton.

Producing reusable hemp bags is an eco-friendly process since it doesn’t emit any CO2. Additionally, hemp bags are easily biodegradable, making them a great eco-friendly alternative to the typical plastic bag. Valani is among the many fashion brands that take advantage of this breathable fiber. 

4. Jute

Another great durable and earthy material is jute. It is a natural fiber that typically has a silky, golden appearance, which is also why it’s known as the Golden Fiber. It’s a crop usually found in Bangladesh and India that doesn’t require fertilizers or pesticides to grow.

Since it reaches maturity between 4 to 6 months, many consider it an incredibly efficient renewable material source. Manufacturers mainly use the skin and stem of the plant, which is a durable and sturdy material for burlap sacks, jute shopping bags, or even slippers, like what Kultura Filipino has creatively done.

5. Polypropylene 

Polypropylene is a material made from recycled plastic, much like rPET bags. They come in two forms: woven and non-woven. Non-woven polypropylene plastic threads are bonded together instead of woven.

Non-woven polypropylene bags are breathable and secure, having been created using nylon or synthetic fibers combined with reinforced seams and handles and high-quality stitching. This is an excellent pick if you want something sturdy. 

Since polypropylene has a low density, it requires a third less resin than other plastics to create different applications for it. This reduces the non-renewable resources used to manufacture it. 

Aside from being used for durable bags, non-woven polypropylene face masks have also been found to block almost all emitted cough droplets, helping users against COVID-19 or other airborne diseases.  

6. Bamboo

If you’re looking for a wildly versatile material that’s both sturdy and earthy, look no further than bamboo. It is considered one of the most sustainable and adaptable resources and more eco-friendly than paper or plastic. 

It’s a fast-growing plant that doesn’t need to be replanted after harvesting since it regenerates from its roots; bamboo forests can regenerate themselves in 3–5 years. It also absorbs a large amount of CO2 and produces more oxygen than other plants, thriving without the need for pesticides. 

Bamboo is an incredibly versatile material that’s 100% biodegradable. Many have used it to produce paper, clothing, and even build homes. Brands such as Guadua Bamboo have found creative uses for this durable plant, such as musical instruments, towels, cups, helmets, and even bracelets and earrings. 

With its many applications, bamboo shopping bags may also be one of the most environmentally friendly alternatives you can opt for instead of paper bags. 

Switch to Reusable Shopping Bags Today

When it comes to buying eco-friendly bags, you certainly have more options than simply paper. 

Brands are becoming more aware of that fact and encouraging more people to lessen their plastic use through their products built with recycled materials. Join the mission to make a positive impact on the environment and use a reusable shopping bag.

Retailers looking to ditch single-use grocery bags can consider Oceos’ reusable shopping bags. Oceos offers wholesale custom reusable tote bags, so you can have your logo and brand name printed on each bag. Fill out our contact form for bulk orders.

    Published: June 9, 2022


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