Fashion / Lifestyle

Plastic vs cotton tote bags

Sometimes our assumptions about what is environmentally friendly don’t always stand up to scrutiny. For example, plastic and re-usable bags.

Did you know? An organic cotton bag would need to be used up to 149 times for climate change, and 20,000 times for all environmental factors during its lifetime.

Honestly, I did not expect the number to be just so high. And when I tally up the dozens of tote bags I own (and just how many I receive at professional events as a “sustainable” gift) I feel a bit anxious.

On the flip side, PET bags (what many single use plastic carrier bags are made of) only need to be re-used 8 times for climate change and up to 84 times for all factors. Then do whatever it takes to prevent the bag from ending up in the environment, ideally ending life in recycling.

This is from: “Life Cycle Assessment of Grocery Carrier Bags, Environmental Project no 1985” (link opens PDF of the study), by Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark, February 2018. In the study, the researchers looked at the full cradle to grave impact of using bags for groceries, and just how much they had to be used to negate their impacts.

These findings went against my assumption that cotton / textile bags are best and guilt-free, and has got me re-thinking how many new cute tote bags I *really* need.
Swipe to see excerpts from the study.
What surprised you most?

Image description: Katie wears a cream blouse with billowy sleeves elasticated at the wrist, a floral waistcoat, high waisted jeans cut off at the ankle and white cowgirl style boots. She’s on a London street corner in front of a peachy coloured building.

Top: secondhand, mom made it for herself in the 1970s and I found it in her closet about 15 years ago.
Jeans: vintage Levis thrifted 2018
Waistcoat: vintage Marion Donaldson via eBay 2019
Jewellery: Necklaces Missoma 2017/2018 and Alighieri old season via overstock sale 2019, earrings Alkymi 2019, bracelet gift from husband 2016.

Much love, Katie xo

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