A quick look into our hedgerows, tree tops, drains and canals (above) will uncover a multitude of snagged plastic bags, fluttering hopelessly. Worse still is looking into ponds, rivers and lakes and seeing them floating around like manmade jellyfish. They choke up our natural environment and much of the wildlife that lives in it.
Every year 800,000 tonnes of ‘single-use’ plastic bags are used in the UK alone. And only 6% of these are recycled. A massive four billion bags are thrown away. Only ‘away’ isn’t actually a place. ‘Away’ is a landfill site somewhere where the bags can be whipped up by the wind and blown out to sea, under bushes and back into our life, to hang around forever and never properly disappear.
In countries where plastic bags have been banned or are charged for, the number of single use bags has fallen dramatically. Suddenly, remembering a canvas bag for your pint of milk, packet of biscuits or full weekly shop isn’t so difficult.
And when there are so many re-usable bags and purses that you can choose from as an alternative, why would you even want to use a plastic bag? We’ve picked out three of our favourite handy bags that you can keep stuffed in a coat pocket, car boot, desk drawer, bike pannier or packed up small in your rucksack or handbag, ready to whip out and fill up whenever you need.
These gorgeously stylish sustainable totes from Nature Bag are natural in tone and natural in material. The organic fabric, made from kudzu, comes in plain or patterned and are just beautiful.
If you want something a little more original, try one of these hand painted jute bags from Queenofpersia AKA June. She paints each one personally, creating unique and interesting bags. They are strong enough to withstand a full family shop but wont pack down quite as small as the kudzu bags.
If animals aren’t your thing then we suggest a canvas bag from Poplove. These bags come with a bit of an attitude. So if the usual cutesy reusable shoppers don’t turn you on then these designs are more likely to get you toting the tote. Scary Bears, Marilyn McDonald and illustrated ribs are the order of the day.
Whatever you're doing, keep a reusable bag handy and refuse to use single use plastic. It might be carrying your apples home today, but it will still be hanging around in 1000 years time. And you don’t want that to be your legacy.
Main Image: Andrew