Eco Friendly Grocery Bags

In my post How “Eco Friendly” is your Grocery Bag?, I suggested looking for an eco friendly grocery bag. In particular, I suggested looking for a bag that is made from natural fibers, is large, and can be reused over many years.

In this post, I will look at some of the options when it comes to eco friendly grocery bags.

Eco friendly bags come in a wide range of different materials. Here are some eco friendly bags available on the current market:

  • Hemp bags
  • Calico bags
  • Jute bags
  • Hessian bags
  • Biodegradable starch based bags
  • Polyester bags
  • Biodegradable plastic bags
  • Degradable plastic bags
  • Paper bags
  • “Green bags”, such as the one’s introduced at supermarkets in Australia. Note that these are typically made from polypropylene so they’re not really eco-friendly. But they are re-usable and hold more than a typical plastic bag.

These eco friendly bags have varying levels of “eco friendliness”, but are typically regarded as being much better than their traditional plastic bag alternative (with the possible exception of paper bags). Despite paper bags having a more eco friendly image, studies show paper bags are less eco friendly than plastic bags.

While some of the above don’t decompose properly (i.e. polypropylene, paper), others are made from natural fibers and decompose very easily. Biodegradable plastic bags are best suited to composting (as opposed to landfill). Degradable bags on the other hand, are well suited to landfill. They basically self destruct after a given period of time - say 18 months.

The Benefits of Hemp

Hemp is a perfect choice for an eco friendly grocery bag. Hemp is a natural fiber and is very durable.

In fact, it’s the longest, strongest most durable natural fiber known to mankind. Also, Hemp can be grown in 2 months and does not require herbicides or pesticides.

Although eco friendly grocery bags can be more expensive than other types, you get a lot more use out of them. For example, a hemp grocery bag could cost you say, $8 - $10, but it will last you many years.

Another Option - Banana Leaves

You could always take a bunch of banana leaves to the supermarket with you. In fact, that’s what the Ugandan government is asking it’s people to do. In Uganda, banana leaves is the traditional method for carrying goods, and now that plastic bags have been banned there, banana leaves are back.

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32 Responses to “Eco Friendly Grocery Bags”

  1. Biodegradable Plastic Bags - Eco Friendly or Not? | Natural Environment Blog Says:

    [...] Natural Environment Blog Blogging for the Natural Environment « Eco Friendly Grocery Bags [...]

  2. Alternatives to Plastic Shopping Bags | Natural Environment Blog Says:

    [...] you’ve read some of my other articles, you might know that I’m a huge advocate of reusable shopping bags. Reusable shopping bags allow you to use the same bag over and over again, usually for years, [...]

  3. Beth Says:

    Please visit http://www.willowridgeplastics.com
    Using oxo-biodegradable plastic additives will ensure that degradable PE bags will be eco friendly.

  4. 6 Websites Offering Reusable Shopping Bags | Natural Environment Blog Says:

    [...] to my article about eco-friendly shopping bags, here’s a list of six websites that offer reusable/eco-friendly shopping [...]

  5. China Releases Standards for Plastic Bags | Natural Environment Blog Says:

    [...] encouraging as it is to hear this news, it would be better if China could encourage larger eco-friendly shopping bags - such as reusable jute bags. Reusable bags like these can hold much more than plastic bags, and [...]

  6. Ecosax Canvas Tote Bags Says:

    We are a small company here in the Philippines that supplies eco-friendly canvas tote bags. These comes in varities that can be used for fashion (relays environmental awareness messages), corporate giveaways or simply customized bags. We can also supply grocery stores with these bags. Prices would vary depending on the bulk of the order. For inquiries, please email at ecosaxbags@yahoo.com

  7. Linda Says:

    Hi,
    I’m just wondering why polypropylene bags are on your list of environmentally friendly bags… Are they better than polyethylene? I am so confused. I have a business where I need to wrap items in something water proof, and I would like to use a product that is more eco-friendly. I have a lot of trouble getting good information though. I’ve been searching for months. I have tried compostable bags, but then found out that they are not good in landfills. Bio-degradable bags are not good for landfills either….
    Any guidance would be greatly appreciated!!
    Thanks,
    Linda

  8. Ian Says:

    Good point Linda, I can see how it could have been misleading. I’ve rewritten the polypropylene entry on the list. I included polypropylene bags on the list due to their reusability and the fact that they are widely available in supermarkets in some countries.

  9. Linda Says:

    So, if you had a business where things need to be wrapped in something waterproof (like a mail-order clothing or fabric business)… a business for which you can’t use cloth bags… What would be your first choice for a waterproof bag that would be least harmful to the environment? Degradable plastic?
    Thanks, this is a great website…although a little confusing to navigate…
    Many thanks,
    Linda

  10. Ian Says:

    It sounds like degradable plastic bags might be the way to go. I would be interested to hear other peoples thoughts on this. There does seem to be a shortage of information available to business owners when it comes to this sort of thing.

    Thanks for your feedback on the website too.

    Ian

  11. Linda Says:

    One last thought… Most companies that sell plastic bags do not distinguish between biodegradable and degradable. I ordered a sample of a supposedly “degradable” plastic bag from ULine.com (one of biggest shipping suppliers) and when I inspected the bag, it was clearly stamped as “biodegradable”. It seems like there’s a long way to go in terms of educating these vendors.
    Does anyone know of a vendor who sells DEGRADABLE bags?
    Thanks,
    Linda

  12. Graham Says:

    The advantages of jute bags in relation to polypropylene bags are discussed in detail here http://www.alburyenvirobags.com.au/JuteorPolypropylene.php . Jute is a biodegradable natural fibre, not a product of the petrochemical industry.

  13. Vishal Saraogi Says:

    Best is to use Jute or Cotton bags. Both are biodegradeable. if any interest you can contact me.

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  16. Eco Pure Says:

    Nice post!
    Very informative blog. I learn a lot of knowledge and I look forward to future post.
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  17. greensentiments Says:

    Green Sentiments is a supplier of reusable, eco-friendly jute bags.

    Choosing a reusable jute bag is one way to take responsibility for minimizing waste and for using resources in a sustainable way thereby avoiding large landfills which affect the environment and wildlife. Plastic bags are becoming a global problem. There’re adding to landfill and affecting the world’s wildlife. That’s why more and more customers are choosing eco-friendly alternatives.

  18. Collins Pt. Says:

    Biodegradable plastic and packaging is a modern necessity for our ever-endangered environment.
    Now PLA has been used to line the indoors of Paper Cups in place of the oil based lining additional usually used, create Plastic Cups, Plates, Carrier Bags, Food Packaging and even Nappies.
    Eco Pure is our proprietary blend of organic materials that does not modify the base resin to which it is added.

    Thanks a lot for your information

  19. Melinda Guard Says:

    Calico bags are definitely great for shopping. Its indeed one of the best alternatives for plastic bags. They are eco friendly which is why most companies are using it as their promotional product.

  20. michael Says:

    I sell antique furniture and use recycled materials WHENEVER possible. It’s difficult finding recycled products. Anyway, the uline bags are biodegradable in 7 years, not immediately. I’m open to using them because many environmental products will dissolve in direct contact with water. These bags permit use as a substitute for traditional ziploc bags. They’ll be a nice substitute when made in mass like ziploc / hefty sandwich bags. You can’t use hemp bags to keep a sandwich with mayonnaise fresh from spoilage.

  21. Thomas Says:

    “What really gets a lot of people to purchase this is that one (of our bags) can save approximately 1,200 grocery bags, and when it’s done you can throw it in the recycle bin, entering it in a chain of recyclables.”

  22. PromotionalEcoBags.Com Says:

    We are manufacturer Exporter of Jute Bags, Cotton Bags, OrganiC Cotton, Canvas Tote, Juco Bags, Velvet Bags, Non Woven Bags etc. from India. In case of any query / requirement, please feel free to contact us.

  23. greensentiments Says:

    Green Sentiments is a supplier of reusable, eco-friendly jute bags.

    Choosing a reusable jute bag is one way to take responsibility for minimizing waste and for using resources in a sustainable way thereby avoiding large landfills which affect the environment and wildlife. Plastic bags are becoming a global problem. There’re adding to landfill and affecting the world’s wildlife. That’s why more and more customers are choosing eco-friendly alternatives. http://www.greensentiments.com

  24. aa Says:

    That’s interesting,i like it.

  25. Amit Says:

    Eco friendly bags are the latest fashion fab which is being observed in the market ! Good Going !

  26. Jute bags suppliers Says:

    Eco friendly bags are so cool, I Love them !

  27. mguard Says:

    Tote bags and calico bags are the best options for bringing bags to a shopping store like going to the groceries. It is because these bags are very eco friendly and in some cases, these are the best alternatives for plastic bags.

  28. Krishna Says:

    These grocery bags are made of fibers so these are so eco friendly thanks for sharing the information.These bags are also one of the latest trends.

    http://www.littleearthgroup.com

  29. Bag Manufacturers Says:

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  30. Calico bags Says:

    Plastic bags are becoming a global problem. There’re adding to landfill and affecting the world’s wildlife.There’re adding to landfill and affecting the world’s wildlife. That’s why more and more customers are choosing eco-friendly alternatives.

  31. peter Says:

    Great site very interesting read plastic bag arent good for the environment and calico are reusable thank you…cheers Peter

  32. Vishal Saraogi Says:

    We are manufacturer Exporter of Jute Bags, Cotton Bags, OrganiC Cotton, Canvas Tote, Juco Bags, Velvet Bags, Non Woven Bags etc. from India. Our bags are Eco-friendly and alternative to plastic bags. Please contact us for your requirement