Many stores want to do their part in reducing plastic waste and reducing their carbon footprint. It has become a popular practice for businesses such as Target, T.J. Maxx, and many grocery stores like Ingles to sell reusable bags in order to reduce the amount of plastic bags used in store. Unfortunately, many of these bags are a prime example of greenwashing due to the fact that they are often made of plastic rather than natural, eco-friendly fabrics. Consumers are told they are making the “green” choice by buying these reusable bags, which I guess in a sense they are because they are not using the regular plastic bags, but marketing for these bags are misleading.
In class we discussed Target’s sustainability initiatives and we discussed the issues around the use of their reusable bags. I had never thought about the fact that the reusable bags were still made of plastics! I think stores could spend a little bit more money to produce bags made from recycled materials rather than plastics and it could be a win-win situation for the company and the environment in the long run.
I think it would be a great idea for companies to use recycled materials and fabrics to create reusable bags, but since they would be using all different types of materials it would be cool to have the bags reflect the variations. For example, if a company used recycled denim to create a bag, the bag would be denim or if recycled canvas was used to create the bag, the bag would be canvas. This would allow consumers to see that all the bags are different meaning they really came from recycled materials. This would also promote the popular trend of up-cycling to consumers.
I did not realize that these bags were made out of plastic typically. This is a good example of greenwashing. I think this is still better than using plastic bags though because you do not throw them away so the plastic does not end up in landfills. Using recycled materials to produce these bags would be great.
You could even try creating your own bags with old pieces of fabric and clothes!