Why Buying A Tote Bag Won't Make You More Sustainable
Posted on September 23 2022
What is sustainability?
Sustainability refers to maintaining the ecological balance in the environment for the sake of better environmental conditions and more extended usage. The primary perspective of the sustainability concert is to save energy and resources with advanced consumption processes. Sticking to something for longer than usual and consistently contributing all efforts is a highly intricate part of sustainability.
Reason to introduce tote bags
Tote bags are one of the highest demanded apparel in the household. You name a thing, and you can carry it in your tote bag. This is a no-brainer that the tote bag, which was initially supposed to perform environment-friendly tasks, has become a business now. The demand for tote bags in the market has spiked, and almost all the cloth manufacturing industries have started manufacturing tote bags. But the real question that surfaces here is that these are really helping the environment.
The answer to the question is a serious no. People often use tote bags to reduce the usage of plastic and its worse impacts on the environment; unfortunately, it seems to increase with the rise in tote bag usage. This is because, seeing the rise in demand, many industries started malfunctioning and using cheap manufacturing techniques to produce the tote bags. Usually, a tote bag is supposed to be a sustainable bag, which helps the environment with several factors like pollution, lifestyle and better health conditions.
Recently a campaign also took place wherein huge companies which run the trends in the fashion industry had taken up the pledge to adopt sustainable clothing.
The biggest enemy of the environment is fashion trends. This is because almost all the small manufacturers analyse the market trends and try to manufacture similar stuff. Unfortunately, they do not use any techniques that save nature or contribute to its betterment; instead, they use cheap methods that demand less time and a lot of harmful chemicals.
Now you must think about how purchasing a store bag won't make you more sustainable. So let me tell you; initially, tote bags were launched to reduce plastic consumption, but with time, industries adopted cheap and easy practices which involved high amounts of toxic material like plastic worsening the environment.
Specific factors that restrain you from becoming more sustainable
Radical production: Tote bags, which were initially introduced to reduce plastic usage, have now become a fashion ethic, and almost every person has at least one tote bag. Usually, the plastic bags were supposed to be used as throw material which would increase the plastic dump and pollution. After the fashion update now, almost every person has 3 to 4 tote bags increasing the overall consumption. Unfortunately, this also demands more natural resources, which are environment-friendly and a lot of energy. The excessive production of tote bags is not helping the environment, making the users unsustainable as it does not promise sustainable manufacturing. Because of the fashion standards, people have actually forgotten about how to use a tote bag. This is because a person can carry one tote bag everywhere, but now they have a different tote bag for every occasion. The sustainability factor is lost in the case of overproduction as the more tote bags you use, the more production takes place, increasing the air pollution.
Reuse: The prime perspective behind the introduction of tote bags was reusability. A regular cotton tote bag can be used 20,000 times before meeting its breakthrough point. Many other materials other than cotton, which are used in the manufacturing and production of tote bags, last for a very long time than cotton. The sustainability factor here means that a single cotton tote bag shall be used up to 20,000 times without actually purchasing a new one. With the rising demands of the people, the number seems achievable.
The organic cotton tote bags are supposed to go on for longer than the standard cotton bags so that the environmental performance of the plastic bags is matched and the changes are visible.
Raw materials used: Tote bag production takes a lot of energy and fuel consumption. An elongated process is supposed to be followed for its production. The question here is whether these processes are really sustainable. Indeed not, this is because the production in high volume releases highly toxic water and air chemicals. These also involve soil worsening, and the people surrounded by these industries also have an increased risk of getting diseases and infections. The cotton bag's footprint has been analysed to be wrapped up at 598.6 lbs of Co2, whereas the standard HDPE bags were just 3.48 lbs (according to a 2011 UK environment agency study).
Recycling process: Organic and sustainable tote bags can be recycled easily by preventing textile waste. This process saves approximately 7,65,000 litres of water per ton. Recycling is synonymous with sustainability, but unfortunately, this is not the same as tote bags. The companies add certain logos and patches to the bags to make them intriguing and attractive and increase demand. These are usually non-recyclable and are thrown into general waste. This means the higher the production volume, the higher the general waste will also be. There are thousands of firms that recycle cotton. Because of the designs and unrecyclable prints, almost 15-17 per cent of cotton is wasted by every unit annually.
The Final thought:
Sustainability was introduced so that the harmful environmental impacts taking place because of the exponential consumption of chemicals could be reduced, but with increasing fashion trends sustainability factor seems to diminish. With the rising trends and usage of tote bags eco-friendly consumption has decreased. People need to understand the importance of sustainability and start adopting eco-friendly and sustainable fashion. If they fail at doing so, they may also have to deal with the false repercussions of the environment.
The processes involved in producing the tote bags involve a lot of air, water and soil pollution. This increases the range of chlorofluorocarbons in the air and depletes the ozone layer. The people surrounded by the cloth manufacturing industries are less likely to love longer than usual. Also, the people working in these industries have a lesser age range because of the harmful intoxicants that get added to their respiratory systems. If not taken precautions now, future generations may have to deal with severe issues in terms of health and quality of living. Buying a tote bag may not make you more sustainable if you have several tote bags, but when having one and sticking to sustainability, you can easily lead a sustainable life.
Also Read Some Amazing Material's for picking in Making of Eco-Friendly Bags