Polypropylene is a form of plastic used in everything from chairs, to ropes, to the top of Tic-Tac containers.
- Can be recycled
- Strong and durable
- Can be made from recycled materials
- Chemical resistant
- Very cheap to produce
- Low quality bags made from thin polypropylene do tend to wear out very quickly
- Polypropylene is made from oil. However, if the bag is made from recycled polypropylene, it is giving new life to what otherwise may have entered the waste stream
Reusable Jute Bags
Jute is a plant fiber that can be spun into coarse, strong threads. It's often referred to as hessian in products, such as a hessian bag.
- One of the strongest natural fibers
- Relatively cheap to buy
- Jute crops require little water
- Not very resistant to moisture unless chemically treated
- Jute may be grown with the use of pesticides
- Most jute products are imported (travel miles = greenhouse gases)
Reusable Calico Bags
Calico is a cotton fabric that is unbleached and not fully processed.
- The lack of bleaching and processing makes it kinder to the environment as less chemicals are used
- The fabric relatively cheap to produce
- Cotton is very strong and durable
- Not water resistant unless chemically treated
- Unless organically grown, cotton requires a huge amount of pesticide
- The growing of cotton is very water intensive
Reusable Cotton & Canvas Bags
Cotton & Canvas bags are the most commonly used reusable bags in the United States today.
- Soft fabric
- Durable and strong
- Unless the cotton is grown organically, high levels of pesticides are used
- Fully processed cotton required extensive additional treatment
- Cotton is a water intensive crop
Reusable Hemp Bags
The word "hemp" tends to stir up all sorts of association with marijuana. However, in terms of textiles, industrial hemp is a different plant from the same family with very little of the hallucinogenic properties of its cousin.
- Incredibly strong, durable and rot resistant fiber
- The crop can grow in poor soils with little water
- Can be quite expensive due to resistance on the part of governments
to allow the crop to be grown domestically, purely due to incorrect
associations with marijuana; so most hemp products in the western world
are imported. (Thankfully, this beginning to change!)