Basically, there are 3 main types of reusable bags – fabric, paper and plastic.
Fabric Reusable Bags
There are plenty of fabric reusable bags in the market today. Each bag has their pros and cons.
Cotton and Canvas – These are the most common type. They are made with natural fibres. They can be made from traditional cotton, organic cotton or recycled cotton. Every cotton bag must be reused 131 times to match the efficiency of using a plastic shopping bag only once. This is required to compensate for its huge carbon footprint or global warming potential.
Calico – This is a cotton fibre that is not fully processed. Because this is somewhat similar to a cotton bag, it is very resource intensive. It needs to be used hundreds of times to match the eco-friendly performance of its alternatives.
Hemp – This is a natural fibre that is stronger than cotton. It is either used for industrial or textile applications. The crop can be grown in poor soil. It is also resistant to drought and grows very well even without the application of fertilizers and pesticides. This material is among the best options since it is very durable and rot resistant. It is often blended with cotton.
Jute – This is also a natural plant fibre that can be spun into strong threads. It grows in high rainfall areas and similar to hemp, it can grow beautifully without pesticides. This can also be blended with other fabrics.
Reusable Paper Bags
Paper bags are now being used in stores worldwide. It is biodegradable and made from a renewable source. The main problem with its usage is that it tears and loses strength when wet. Also, they are 6-10 times heavier as compared to lightweight plastic bags.
Reusable Plastic Bags
PET – This looks and feels like a bag made of fabric but is made from plastic. This material is very durable and eco-friendly. It is made from post-consumer recycled plastic containers and bottles. This will also require 2/3 less energy to come up with products made out of PET. Most importantly, it can be blended with other fabrics to make a better-looking material.
Polypropylene – This is made from bonded, spun and non-woven polypropylene. This is popular because of its strength and slightly rigid profile. To provide stability, a semi-rigid insert is being placed into the bag’s bottom area.
Nylon – This is a type of synthetic polymer, originally used to replace silk. The material can compact into a small bag for ease of use and storage.