Why I’m replacing my cache of nonwoven polypropylene shopping bags with ripstop models from Baggu.
BUY RIGHT | It was cleanup month around here so I tackled the buildup of shopping bags that had threatened to devour my closet. I don’t know how it happened, but over the past two years I’d managed to accumulate around 50 reusable polyester and nonwoven polypropylene “billboard shoppers” (so called because they often display a company logo) in every size imaginable. These shoppers are awkward and bulky even when folded and gang-bagged, and they easily turn into an unwieldy space-stealing mess when stashed in the back of a car or cupboard.
To add insult to injury, nonwoven polypropylene bags are no better for the environment than those disposable plastic bags they’ve come to replace.
Both disposable plastic bags (made from various kinds of plastic) and nonwoven polypropylene bags are byproducts of the oil refining process, and while both kinds of bags are recyclable (polypropylene ones last infinitely longer), neither is biodegradable.
The Australian company Because We Care has produced the world’s first reusable biodegradable, compostable shopping bag, but if any of our local stores were using them, you’d think they’d be bragging about it the way Target Australia did when they began selling them last year (CLICK HERE for its press release).
But even if nonwoven polypropylene bags were biodegradable, they would still be clunky space eaters, which is why I decided to switch over to the light-as-air, easily crushable ripstop shoppers made by the U.S. company Baggu.
A single reusable Baggu (the word means bag in Japanese) holds the contents of two or three plastic grocery bags (and up to 50 pounds). These bags are easy to carry in your hand or to fling over your shoulder. I like the way they are flat-bottomed—a lot of these tee-shirt-style bags are not. Unlike some nonwoven poly bags, the intensely coloured (and colorfast) Baggu shoppers can be tossed in the washing machine, which is fantastic insurance against the bacterial residue that can build up in bags that carry produce or meat. —Carolann Rule