Reusable Bag Materials: What Are Your Options?

Offering reusable bags to shoppers with every purchase is something common for most of the retail brands. It is a solid marketing investment and an eco-friendly measure that would leave a lasting impression in the minds of consumers. Choosing the right material for reusable bags is very important. The right material plays a big role in the durability of the bags. So, brands should always consider choosing appropriate materials for reusable bags that would serve the purpose of carrying miscellaneous items for a longer time.

There are many options when it comes to the material of reusable shopping bags. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages. Some of the common materials are as follows-

Cotton bags:

Usually, cotton bags come in different variations. Traditional cotton, recycled cotton and organic cotton are some of the popular options. Traditional cotton production usually involves a raw, natural fiber while recycled cotton consists of reclaimed organic and traditional cotton scrap which is usually spun into new yarn. On the other hand, organic cotton is usually grown without the use of any kind of pesticides and is certified using global standards. Cotton canvas is also widely used as a grocery shop material because it is durable and soft at the same time. An ideal reusable bag material that comes in different weights, which can also be specified as ounces. Some of the advantages and disadvantages are as follows-


Renewable source
Strong and durable
Natural plant fiber
Biodegradable/ natural plant fiber


Not moisture resistant
Heavy, bulky and expensive to ship
Bags can shrink and wrinkle with machine washing


Woven and non-woven polypropylene bags are usually made from post-industrial recycled plastic which can be stretched into threads. Woven polypropylene bags are woven in a similar method as to traditional fabrics. This fabric has a textured surface and considered to be a very strong material for reusable bags. However, when it comes to non-woven polypropylene bags, the fibers of the material are bonded together. As a result, bags made from this fabric are soft, durable and is less expensive. Some of the advantages and disadvantages of polypropylene as reusable bag material are as follows-


Very strong
Less porous and easy to clean
Variety of color options
Can be made from recycled materials
Chemical resistant


Type of plastic
Non-biodegradable or compostable
Non-renewable resource
Not recommended for machine washing


It is a type of synthetic polymer which is originally made to replace silk in fabrics. Some of the advantages and disadvantages are as follows-


Nylon is strong and durable
Lightweight material
Water resistant
Can easily compact


Petroleum based product
Slow to break down


Jute is a natural plant fiber that can be used to make ideal grocery bags. It is a sustainable option that can be an ideal reusable bag material option. Natural jute has a very textured look and feel with individual threads that are clearly visible. The material is biodegradable and is cost effective which allows it to fit into most budgets. Some of the advantages and disadvantages of jute as a fabric are as follows-


Natural renewable source
Biodegradable and compostable
Can be blended with other fabrics


Not resistant to moisture unless treated chemically
Grainy texture


Hemp is drought tolerant and grows well without fertilizers or pesticides. These fibers are one of the strongest, longest and most durable fiber on Earth. Each acre of HEMP yields three to six tons of dry fiber. The advantages and disadvantages of HEMP as fiber are as follows-


Extremely strong and durable
Reusable bags made from this fabric can be machine washed and dried
Can be blended with other materials to make high-end fabrics
Soft, smooth and pleasant to touch


Can be expensive


Polyester is usually made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET). The material can be recycled through reheating which converts in back into polymer fibers for further reuse. Advantages and disadvantages are as follows-


Versatile material
Compacts easily
Resistant to water and mold-mildew
Resistant to crinkling


A form of plastic
Slow to break down

Recycled PET

It is durable, eco-friendly fabric which is made from recycled plastic bottles and containers. Using recycled PET reduces waste and conserves oil and other non-renewable sources.


Strong and durable
Can be blended with other fabric like hemp or polyester
Requires less energy to manufacture products made from PET
Strong and durable


A form of plastic
Not recommended for machine washing

These are some of the materials that are ideal to make reusable shopping bags. Brands need to go for the right material that would be ideal as reusable bags for consumers. A high quality shopping bag made from eco-friendly materials always plays a big impact in marketing your brand.

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