Bags for life have become bags for a week

We have reached a point were almost all grocery stores offer alternatives to single use plastic bags but a lot of times these alternatives are just bags made with thicker plastic. And for some reason they are supposed to be the choice of environmentally conscious shoppers. These bags could work if consumers purchased one and used them as they are marketed, “for life”.

But that’s not the case. A new report from the Environmental Investigation Agency and Greenpeace looking at grocery stores in the UK suggests that the plastic “bags for life” utterly failed to do the one thing they were meant to do. In 2019, the top 10 UK grocery stores reported selling 1.5 billion of these bags, which represents approximately 54 “bags for life” per household in the UK.

Fiona Nicholls, Greenpeace UK told the New York Times that, “We have replaced one problem with another.”

“Our survey reveals a huge rise in the sale of plastic ‘bags for life,’ demonstrating the inadequacy of the current policy which is clearly not providing a strong enough incentive for people to stop using ‘bags for life’ as a single-use option,” the report reads.

Sure, the use of single-use plastic bags has dropped, but as the report reads bags for life have become bags for a week. Or even worse bags for just one day. Because the heavier bags use more plastic the overall use of plastics has increased as well.

The report also reads that the “Substitution of single-use plastic for paper produce bags is not a solution.” Paper just won’t cut it. It´s not strong enough and it can´t handle different weather conditions. Just a splash of water and you can carry your produce in your hands the rest of the way.

It seems that we need another solution. A new material. Something that is strong enough that it can be reused and is easy to recycle. And it would be great if it would be made with renewable raw materials.

Maybe, just maybe we already have that material…

Paptic® Tringa checks all the boxes. It can and should be reused. And if consumers use these bags for approximately one week, the material is more than strong enough to be used for that long. Recyclability is another large part of the issue. Paper and cardboard recycling are well established, and consumers know how to recycle these materials.