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ReBags: reusable bags from old paper and used bottles

Re-Bag makes bags to replace the ordinary plastic or paper bag, but not only are their carriers reusable, they are often made out of reused materials, like old paper bags or recycled soda bottles. They work with everyone from big supermarkets faced with plastic bag bans to fashion brands looking to “create a walking billboard and protect the environment”.

They offer bags that compete with the cost of a regular paper bag and still manage to contribute to making a part of their packaging CO2 neutral (in partnership with Climate Care). They’ve also become the main supplier of cotton bags for Europe’s Fairtrade organization Max Havelaar.

While they use some synthetic fibers, they try to use materials that are recycled, recyclable and that cause little environmental stress. Their PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) bags are made from 100% recycled PET bottles, though with print and lamination it’s 80% recycled.

Their most environmentally friendly bag is made of jute, a plant that doesn’t require pesticides since “it has good tolerance to salinity and water stress and is resistant to climate extremes, pests and diseases”. Those at Re-Bag don’t stop at analysis of just the plant, but consider the entire process of making it into a fabric. “Jute is not subjected to the same industrial processes which are applied to cotton- although water is used in the weaving process to dampen the fabric, it is only sprinkled, where as cotton is washed, boiled and bleached. Thus Jute is the most environmentally friendly fiber starting from seed to fiber.”

In this video, Re-Bag’s founder Claus Levin showed us some bags and explained how the options for recycled materials are growing though “our bags can’t compete with very very cheap plastic bags. It’s two different eras [an era Levin sees as changing as bag bans become more popular]”.

We also have an article on the success of disposable plastic bag bans worldwide.