What are the best alternatives to a plastic bag?

What are the best alternatives to a plastic bag?

Remember the days when we’d do our weekly food shop and use new plastic bags every.single.time. What were we thinking? For many of us, these bags were then put into a cupboard each week to be "reused" as bin bags, or for something else and thrown away.

Back in 2015, the UK government brought in the 5p charge for plastic bags in supermarkets and high street shops. The idea was that people wouldn’t want to add a few pennies to their weekly shops and in fact it did deter shoppers since the scheme started it’s estimated 15 billion plastic bags have been removed from circulation.

From the 1st of April 2021 that charge increased to 10p and now retailers of all sizes have to enforce the levy.

So with all the different options out there the choice can be overwhelming.

Bags for Life

Lets start with the ugly . So called “Bags for Life” are estimated to be used an average of 5 times, although I have a Waitrose Christmas Bag For Life from 2017 which I am rather proud is still in  regular use!  However generally, whilst not not strictly speaking single-use, they are not much of an improvement and Morrisons have just announced they will stop selling them. Prone to splitting, and stretchy handles when the contents are heavy these bags still present a litter problem when they inevitably end up in the environment so are best avoided.


Shopping bags made out of repurposed fabric (think tablecloths, sheets, coffee sacks) is a great low-waste option that makes something good out of something that already exists. And if you are not handy with a sewing machine find creative craftspeople in your local area who make and sell reusable bags or have a look on Etsy

String bags

Colourful string bags are making a big comeback. Stylish, convenient, washable and expandable. For a lightweight, fold-up bag that fits in a handbag, string bags are super practical and a great choice.


Cotton Totes

For artists and designers, the large surface area acts as the perfect canvas so a cotton tote is a great way to make a statement. We want to encourage everyone to Bplasticfree so we have introduced our own organic cotton tote which is free with every order over £40

Try to buy Organic cotton which has a smaller eco footprint than regular cotton.

Jute or Hemp bags

Jute and hemp are both considered more environmentally friendly than cotton, but the bags tend to be bulkier so they ae not as convenient

There’s a billion places to buy these kinds of bags. The supermarket would be my last choice. I’d much rather support a charity or a small independent business.

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