Tips & Advice

A Guide to Eco-Friendly Bag Materials

December 11, 2019

Ready to design a bag for life for your business or organisation? There are countless design styles to choose from (which we think is part of the fun and creativity of bespoke products), but have you thought about the material from which your bag will be fashioned? You have plenty of options here, too, including some special eco-friendly materials. 

Today, more and more people are looking to reduce their dependence on single-use plastic with durable reusable bags. Why not take your bag design one step further and ensure your bag is made from an eco-friendly material? Your customers – and the planet – will appreciate it! In this post, we highlight a few materials to look for.

To start, there’s a few key things to consider when selecting a material. A retail store and blog summarises a few aspects that impact how sustainable and eco-friendly a material is, including: 

  • The source of the fiber, and whether it is natural or synthetic.
  • The resources required to create the material, which may include water, land, and pesticides.
  • The process of creating the material. For example, does it require large amounts of energy to produce?
  • The longevity of the fabric. Will it last?

It can be a bit overwhelming, which is why we’re presenting a few of the top options here.

Classic Cotton: Look for Organic!

Cotton is a perfect bag material on which to print your special logo or message. You can also easily dye cotton to perfectly match your brand colours. Cotton, in general, is machine washable and easy to work with. But, beyond this, it’s also a great choice because it’s a natural fibre, making it more biodegradable than plastics and other non-natural materials. Organic cotton, especially, is a great eco-friendly alternative, as it limits the amount of toxins involved in both the production process and for the bag user. 

We offer many cotton bag options, like this classic organic cotton shopper with long handles and a large print area. Not seeing the right design among our stock options? We can help you design a totally unique cotton bag to meet your budget and needs. 

Canvas: Added Durability

Canvas offers similar benefits to cotton, but with more sturdiness and durability, making it a perfect choice for your bag for life. Canvas is a durable, plain-woven fabric that can be made from biodegradable cotton fibers. As with cotton, it can also be dyed to match your brand colours. 

One popular option is this stylish Zoe shopper bag made with premier canvas material. It’s a modern and eco-friendly take on a classic style. This bag features a zipped front pocket for additional storage – notice how the matching coloured zipper blends seamlessly in with the design of the bag for a sleek, clean look to ensure your brand makes a lasting impression. 

Jute: Be Victorious with Vegetables!

Jute is one of the most eco-friendly materials we offer. Jute is a long, soft, shiny vegetable fibre that is spun into coarse, long threads. It’s made from various plants in the genus Corchorus, which are easy to grow and require little water. The sturdy fabric is tightly spun, which makes for a durable bag that will stand the test of time and fashion – our Jute bags are very distinct and appealing in their appearance. (A home décor website calls jute its favorite natural material and retailer Overstock also promotes its jute line of materials for the fiber’s durability, texture, eco-friendliness and versatility.) 

We offer a range of Jute bags to meet the specific needs of your next eco-friendly campaign. For example, consider this Sadie jute shopper, which is made with 100 percent organic jute material and a well-structured exterior. It also features a large print area for your logo or custom design.

Non-Woven Polypropylene: Perfect for Screen or Heat Transfer Printing

Non-Woven polypropylene (PP) is a lightweight, but sturdy material made from a by-product of the oil manufacturing process, making it more eco-friendly than plastic bags. One source suggests that non-woven PP only needs to be reused 11 times to break even with the eco footprint of plastic bags. 

It’s also 100 percent recyclable! These bags can be melted down, recycled and used again. Non-woven PP is also the best option if you intend to customise your bag for life using screen printing or heat-transfer printing. 

One option is the popular and affordable Elmsted Budget Tote. This is made from partly recycled non-woven PP, which is lightweight, fully recyclable and water-resistant. This one features AZO-free dyes, a base board, side pocket and nice long (60cm) handles to make shopping green and easy for your customers. 

Woven Polypropylene for Durability 

This is polypropylene’s non-woven counterpart, which is fully recyclable as well as water-resistant. As we mentioned above, polypropylene is a type of thermoplastic polymer that can easily be melted down and used again to reduce the amount of waste we produce. The woven structure gives it more durability and make its tougher and tear-resistant. We offer a range of woven PP bags to choose from, or, as with any need, we can create something totally custom and unique for you. 

We hope this post sheds a bit of light on some of the top eco-friendly materials for your bag for life, and why it matters. Please get in touch with us today to start working on your special bag. For your customers looking to do their part to protect the planet, remind them that whatever bag they use (hopefully yours!), they should use it as many times as possible to further reduce their impact.