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.