From hemp to wood fibers: Greener alternatives to classic cotton tote bags

From hemp to wood fibers: Greener alternatives to classic cotton tote bags



What if we made reusable bags more eco-friendly? That’s a niche that several brands are currently carving out, including a Swiss company making tote bags from wood fibers. Ahead of this year’s International Plastic Bag Free Day, July 3, here’s a look at some greener alternatives to classic tote bags, which aren’t so easy on the environment.

The tote bag is now being criticized for its environmental impact, especially because of the high consumption of water and cotton required for its manufacture. According to several studies, classic cotton tote bags would actually have to be used thousands of times for them to have a positive environmental impact (and thus compensate for the global carbon footprint linked to their manufacture).

Too bad, since the idea of a sturdy bag that can be used for several years has largely proven its potential and found its audience. That’s why several brands are starting to make more sustainable, eco-friendly totes, some of which are made of organic cotton and/or without printing (the ink used making it particularly difficult to recycle the bags). 

But you can also opt for bags made from more sustainable and ethical textile materials than cotton, like those from the British brand Ally Capellino, which has embraced hemp. Or designer Anya Hindmarch

Swiss brand BioApply, meanwhile, is taking an ecological approach with its WOODEN range. As the name suggests, these bags are made of sustainable wood fibers obtained from wood scraps sourced from European forests. The wood is processed to form fiber threads, which are then woven to make a Lyocell fabric, the company explains.

In the end, it’s good to use a reusable bag when shopping to cut down on the use of plastic, while trying — as far as possible — to favor bags made from sustainable materials like hemp and wood fibers, but also linen or straw.

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