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A better alternative

A better alternative17-03-2013 02:34
TreeuseProfile picture☆☆☆☆☆
Did you know this?

When you go shopping, it is better to use the standard polyethylene shopping bags that are often provided free of charge by the supermarket or shop, than using the average premium-priced 'bags for life' or cotton re-usable bags.

A recent study (Spring 2012) published by the UK environmental agency compared the emissions associated with the production of various types of carrier bags that people use for shopping, and the amount of times people reuse different types of bag before discarding them.

The results indicated, amongst other things, that one would need to reuse a cotton shopping bag more than 271 times to offset its higher carbon dioxide emission association than that of standard supermarket plastic bags. On average, however, reusable cotton bags are often used only 51 times in their lifetime before wearing out or being simply thrown away.

People are being tricked by clever marketing into the tacit thought that cotton bags are better for the environment than plastic ones. Indeed, they are better for landfill, but in terms of their contribution to global warming, cotton bags are generally something which should be avoided, now that you know the truth.

Until now.

My colleagues and I have launched a small enterprise; selling stylish cotton bags, and planting a tree for every bag sold. We don't retain any profits; everything goes to the reforestation charity WeForest. At only £3.50, it could be one of your better purchases today.

Trees on average absorb around a tonne of CO2 in their lifetime, so by planting trees for bags sold, we offset the emissions associated with the production of each of our bags more than 3 times over.

To our knowledge, these are the world's first carbon negative cotton bags of their kind.

Yes, buying one of these bags isn't going to save the world, but its the little things we do which contribute to big change.

Get your hands on one at

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26-03-2013 18:55
Wouldn't it be better to sell the standard polyethylene shopping bags and plant trees? If you are offsetting 3X on bag sold and standard polyethylene shopping bags have a lower carbon impact it seems that selling standard polyethylene shopping bags and planting the same amount of trees would have a bigger positive impact.
26-03-2013 19:14
TreeuseProfile picture☆☆☆☆☆
A valid point, thankyou, but the idea we have is that we are offering an alternative to the worst contributor of its kind to carbon emissions. People will continue to buy cotton bags, not simply due to the misconception that they are better than polyethelene bags, but also because they are stronger, more stylish and much more comfortable to hold. We think that its much better to offer people a better alternative than to simply tell people not to buy/use them. Don't you agree?
26-03-2013 19:19
Great point. I had not thought of it that way. While changing the behavior would be best, if the behavior won't change then change the impact of the behavior. Good job.
26-03-2013 19:37
TreeuseProfile picture☆☆☆☆☆
Thank you Jason!
25-06-2013 00:12
This is amazing -- such a great idea, and so inspiring!

I don't actually use bags (I'm a cyclist, little hard to carry 'em!), but I wish you all the best on this most worthy endeavor. Hats off to you -- and hopefully one day more businesses will follow your lead!

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