The carrier bag that could crunch down on plastics pollution
A reusable carrier bag that can be turned into a bin liner has been developed, an invention which could reduce plastic film use in light of taxes on single-use carrier bags.
According to the inventor, Richard Simmonite, when Ireland introduced a charge on carrier bags in 2002, sales of bin liners soared by 500%. As a result, the amount of plastic film being used increased.
Simmonite undertook product lifecycle research that found that replacing all existing carrier bags with his Bag Re:Born alternative would be the equivalent to taking 96,000 cars off the roads in terms of carbon savings.
Bag Re:Born is currently manufactured from new polythene film, but the engineering can be applied to any material from corn starch, biodegradable or recycled plastic or sturdier plastics, for example to create a carrier bag that transformed into a rubble bag for DIY retailers.
"Carrier bags might not seem to be the sexiest area for innovation, but they are part of a major environmental problem and innovation in this field can be part of an incredible environmental solution," said Simmonite.
He pointed out that a lot of people use reusable carrier bags and still buy bin bags.
"Bag Re:Born means that just one product replaces two separate ones. This results in a reduction in the amount of plastic film being used and reduces the products going into the waste stream," he explained.
According to Simmonite, his creation offers a great product for charity shops as it gives customers a charity donation bag and reduces waste by diverting textiles from landfill.
"Carrier bags might not seem to be the sexiest area for innovation, but they are part of a major environmental problem and innovation in this field can be part of an incredible environmental solution.
In the Environment Agency's carrier bag report in 2011, one of the key findings was that carrier bags reuse as bin bags is pivotal for environmental performance.
Bag Re:Born won the Santander University of Brighton Enterprise Award 2012 for most innovative product.