I interrupt the regularly scheduled Flaunt It! Monday to voice a concern I recently had. To date I had been happy with pretty much every product that companies had sent my way to review and giveaway. I love being able to introduce these companies that are really trying to bring “green” into the mainstream and practice what they preach. However, at the end of last week I received one that immediately bothered me.
I was approached to review a product, a reusable grocery bag, and I told the company to send one over. I had not even looked at the site. I guess I assume when my Flaunt It! Monday Sponsorship mentions truly green products, it explains itself.
So, Friday seemed to be the day for product reviews to hit my mail box, I got several at once! One was the reusable bag company I agreed to review. I will not mention brand names since I hope this company will rethink it’s product and become a true green product in the future. When I pulled these two bags out of a virgin paper, plastic bubble wrap mailer I already knew there was an issue. Next issue? The tag… 100% Polyester (from madehow.com):
Polyester is a synthetic fiber derived from coal, air, water, and petroleum. Developed in a 20th-century laboratory, polyester fibers are formed from a chemical reaction between an acid and alcohol. In this reaction, two or more molecules combine to make a large molecule whose structure repeats throughout its length. Polyester fibers can form very iong molecules that are very stable and strong.
Seriously, there is a reason that my father-in-laws Polyester suits had to be hidden in the trash back in the 90’s… they still looked the same as the day they were made…. i.e. they don’t wear out…. greener term… they do not BIODEGRADE! They looked as ugly in the ’90’s as they did in the 70’s!
So, point is this really bothered me. Why am I bothering to bring my reusable bags to the store when their production process is just as harmful anyway? I mean they may be reusable but they are also being manufactured in mass quantities these days. There’s one in every size, shape, color and style, you know?
After doing a little research I found that many of the stylish reusable bags people are toting around are made out of polyester. And the bags we typically purchase for a buck or so at most stores are made by a company called Green Bag and made of Non Woven Polypropylene, and claim:
- 100% recyclable and totally re-usable
Packing and carrying capacity of 3-4 plastic bags eliminating thousands of harmful bags over its lifespan
- Our materials are water repellent and so avoids bacteria or foul odours
- Our materials are non toxic, non corrosive, non-allergenic
I really can’t say I’m still convinced. Shouldn’t the bags we are using to ideally eliminate the use of plastic bags, themselves be environmentally friendly? One article “How green is your bag” writes: “Your environmentally friendly green bags are made of plastic – polypropylene is a fossil fuel-based plastic. The bags are also imported from China. So, plastic, non-renewable, doing nothing for our balance of payments and guess what? You’re paying for the privilege. Supermarkets are laughing all the way to the bank.” and “I’ve just retired after 30 years in the packaging industry and, frankly, I’m amazed at the constant rave about the ‘environmental’ green bags … Doesn’t anyone realize these bags are made of the same ‘almost indestructible’ materials used in car bumpers and wheelie bins? … These bags replace the plastic bags, which were in the throes of changing to a safe cornstarch biodegradable form … what happens when these ‘cool’ bags reach their use-by date? Will there be millions of them in circulation?”
So what is the answer to this? In my opinion, it seems as if the paper or plastic question is not being well answered by our choices of mainstream reusable bags. Are there better options? What are your thoughts on this?