April 29, 2008

Are Eco-Friendly Bags Worth It?

In my head, eco-friendly bags usuallt mean low-priced, off-white bags with some kind of save-the-earth type of message printed on it. Obviously, I've got Anya Hindmarch's "I'm not a plastic bag" bag -the first famous eco-friendly bag imprinted in my head. Back then, they were sold for 5 pounds each in the UK. (The whole craze for the bag is another story.) But clearly with over-demand, many other designers have tried to come up with smart slogans to put on suppsedly eco-friendly bags. I've managed to ignore that trend up until two weeks ago, I found this (literally) happy-looking bag in my mum's paper shopping bag.

No, my mum didn't buy it. She bought a jacket and the bag was a gift for shopping at Seibu, a department store in Hong Kong. We didn't think anything of it until we got home and discovered a HK$500 price tag on it. Wait, $500?! Yup, that was our reaction. We were kind of confused with why this bag would cost $500 in the first place and why the department store gave it away as a gift. I mean sure, the green smiling tree is sort of cute and it does have Moschino printed on it, (-as we all know, anything with a brand name printed on it allows it to be priced above what we think it ought to be worth,) but is it really worth 500hkd? (-500hkd is around 64usd or 30 pounds.) My point is not that I'm complaining about wasting my money on it because it was free, but that who would pay that much for it in the first place? And what you may not be able to tell from the photo is, this bag is small! It is probably the most impractical eco-friendly bag I have ever seen. Even the "I'm not a plastic bag" bag is more practical since it was wide (making up for it's lack of depth.) Plus, there was no message tag attached and the saleslady didn't even explain the point of the bag. Perhaps the proceeds of the bag goes to an unmentioned charity?

Anyway moving onto the Feed Bag. BG blogged about the first style last April. Recently, Lauren Bush released Feed 2 Bag. I have to admit the reason I looked it up was because I was surprised by the 50pound price tag when I saw it in Tatler magazine. But after reading the Harrods website, I am actually convinced it is worth it -According to Harrods' website, "each Feed 2 Bag sold will provide a year's worth of lunch meals in school for two children in need" for the UN World Food Programme's school feeding program. As for the design, it is reversible and made of 100% organic fair-trade material. OK, I can't claim to fully appreciate how 'green' the material is, but the cause actually sounds solid and worth it. I'm assuming people use these eco-friendly bags as their grocery-shopping bags, not to replace their Chanels, so even though it's not supremely stylish, it looks fit for the job, (although I would much prefer one that didn't have "Harrods" imprinted on it.)
What do you think of the whole eco-friendly bags trend in general? Do you use them for grocery shopping? Have you bought any?

Image Credits: http://www.harrods.com/


Blogger ~Angela~ said...

I have plenty of tote bags lying around my place already. I don't need to get a special eco-friendy one.

4/29/2008 1:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i bought my brother one of the FEED bags for Christmas so that he could use it as a grocery bag.
it's actually pretty cool looking in person, although it's expensive, I think it's worth it.
i actually really wanted to buy one for myself, but have been unable to bring myself to spend so much money on a bag that doesn't have much use to me, personally as I already have grocery bags & i will not be using it as a purse.

oh well.
it's still a brilliant idea.


4/29/2008 1:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Depending on the size, fabric, etc. I use "eco-friendly" bags for just about everything. They work as a purse, especially if you're wearing a casual look and want to take a sweater along (or change of shoes) just be safe. Large, boxy ones from the grocery store I use for, well, grocery shopping. And I have a smaller tote that I've had forever that I can fold up and tuck into most of my medium sized purses incase I go on a shopping spree. (Its amazing how much stuff you can fit into a bag when the store doesn't add all its tissue paper and what not!)

For me, "eco-friendly" bags are a good way to cut down on the unrecyclable garbage brought into my house, not a fashion statement (though I will confess to owning a "I Am Not a Platic Bag" bag). If it can be affordable, stylish AND useful, you hit the jackpot. If its just stylish and useful, that's not half bad either. I think the main thing is actually using the bag, regardless of how much you paid for it, or how attractive it may or may not be. Otherwise, if you just buy the thing and let it sit around in your closet, while you continue to use up shopping bags when you go out, that entirely defeats the purpose.

4/29/2008 1:53 AM  
Blogger AR said...

I think eco-friendly bags are a great idea, but definitely not worth all that money (except the one giving food to children). Why would you pay that much when you can just buy one at the super market for $10 for your grocery shopping? For me, my shopping bag doesn't need to make a fashion statement it just needs to be big enough to fit all of my purchases in & practical enough that I don't break the bank trying to cut down on my plastic bag usage.

4/29/2008 3:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These bags are also available on Amazon (sans Harrods): http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000M3OP6A%3Fcamp%3D1789%26creative%3D9325%26linkCode%3Das2%26tag%3Dkaboodlecom-20%26creativeASIN%3DB000M3OP6A%26ie%3DUTF8%26

4/29/2008 4:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harrods' Girl doesn't want a bag that says Harrods?

4/29/2008 4:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would buy an eco-friendly bag that didn't have stupid, ridiculous prints/designs all over--no dumb logos, slogans, or "cute" crap. It'd also be nice if they were actually more functional with some pockets and so on instead of being a simple tote.

4/29/2008 5:03 AM  
Anonymous ApollineR said...

I use a rucksac. It is more practical.

4/29/2008 5:39 AM  
Blogger alis said...

The feed bag doesn't seem practical; I guess you have to carry it empty because it's too thick to fold and fit into your regular purse. Also, on amazon it says only $20 of it go to the children in need. So you're feeding the man more than feeding the hungry children! Pointless rip off, just donate $50 and get a cheap and practical eco-bag.

4/29/2008 6:44 AM  
Anonymous May said...

I purchased some grocery bags from mixedbagdesigns.com and I use them solely for groceries. They pack a lot! While I have tote bags lying around... I don't use them for groceries. Mainly, totes are for swimming, beach outings, etc. I finally caved in and bought some, but I do use it and I feel good when I use them haahaha.

4/29/2008 7:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have four cloth bags i bring to the grocery store (and pet food store and any other store i might be buying several items!) and i only paid $3usd for all of them.. one was free and the other three were only a dollar a peice. they have the name of the supermarket printed on them but i dont use them for fashion.. just shopping....

i super advocate getting a couple cheap bags instead of using te plastic or paper ones at the store.. its so unnecessary!

4/29/2008 1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's extremely ignorant of you to wonder if the green bags are "worth it." The whole point of those bags is to raise awareness about the environment and also for each person to take their part in going green and limiting the outrageous plastic consumption in this country.

You're looking past the true meaning of the bags in an effort to try to make your little outfits more fashionable. Ignorant. PATHETIC.

4/29/2008 1:30 PM  
Anonymous Ellen said...

Anonymous at 6:30am, I think you may have missed the point of the post. While green bags do raise awareness you have to wonder if companies are doing this for their own profit and not to benefit the enviornment. Like Barneys with its Green theme over Christmas, the proof will be over time. It is not just about a fashion statment, but are the over $50 tote bags from big name designers really worth it?

I don't buy the expensive eco-bags that are from designers jumping onto the green bag wagon; they are not worth it. We don't need to spend $60 for a tote bag, with $55 of that going to corporate profits. I am also not a fan of the "feed bag" because I think direct donations are more likely to help people and less money is spent on overhead. I do like reusable grocery bags and do have a few of the cheaper Baggu ones made of nylon, washable, and recyclable.

4/29/2008 10:06 PM  
Blogger Alysia said...

I think that it's great that these bags are raising awareness towards eco-frienly practices. Would I spend $50 on one of these bags? probably not. I just use the black ones I can buy from Loblaws and turn the logo towards me. Perfect fit underneath my purse to help me carry extra cargo. And at $1 a piece whats not to like?

4/29/2008 10:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Green" is so illogical sometimes. Take recycling, for instance (please!) What about all the water that goes into the system to rinse out the cans and bottles. And then instead of one garbage truck roaming the streets we now have two! One for garbage and one for recycling! How is that "green?" Most of the stuff that is "recycled" isn't. It's just separated and thrown into the landfill with everything else. Even Walmart is selling cloth shopping bags. It's a fad and a marketing ploy.

4/30/2008 2:18 AM  
Anonymous Enyaeire's Creations said...

I really think tote bags are the future and should be enforced more in supermarkets. A tote bag can be personalized and look chic for not very expensive. A lot of women use them for the beach and have been for years, why not use them for the supermarket. I say keep promoting them :)

4/30/2008 2:36 AM  
Blogger Bree said...

I have 6 baggu bags. I use them at the grocery store. It is easier now to use them, because of all the self-service checkouts. My parents bought the supremely cheap Stop&Shop brand bags ($1). I would support reusable bags as an enforcement.

4/30/2008 7:01 AM  
Blogger Camille said...

I love the Moschino bags. They are so... ECOlovelys !

4/30/2008 8:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

500???? wrong price tag?

4/30/2008 1:09 PM  
Blogger Aquarius said...

I bought the feed bag from Amazon because I needed a tote and it was for a good cause. I don't regret it, but I admit that I have not used it. It's huge! Much larger than an everyday totebag for work. I suppose it does carry a lot and would probably make a good beach bag or shopper. I love the white side out.

4/30/2008 2:51 PM  
Anonymous savvy gal said...

I remember people fighting over Anya Hindmarch I am not just a Plastic bag a while ago. Now everyone is on the bandwagon. I tried to be green buying these totes but always forgets when I go out anyway. I will try harder. : )

4/30/2008 4:54 PM  
Anonymous mimi said...

in australia, the eco-friendly bags at the grocery stores only cost $1! basically, i stock up on a lot of them, use them for grocery shopping, but they are really great when you go to the library and take out a stack of books for when you have a big paper to write for uni. makes carrying those heavy books so much easier!

other than that, i dont understand why you would replace normal handbags for $500 canvas bags with a designer name flaunted on it.

4/30/2008 6:54 PM  
Anonymous Ellen said...

...um thats HK$500 not US dollars.

4/30/2008 7:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

500$ (Hong Kong Dollar) = 64.17$ (US Dollar)

4/30/2008 10:39 PM  
Blogger Zoe (Raining Hats and Clogs) said...

I definitely use eco-friendly bags to do my grocery shopping. it's a big problem we're facing today. i mean mine was only $2 but it gets the job done and if putting a designer name on it makes more people switch over than that sounds good to me

4/30/2008 11:10 PM  
Blogger Samuel Rowe said...

As much as I hate Harrods for its snobbery and general air of expense, I really like their eco bags.
I think that eco fashion is definatley going to expand over the next few years, you only have to look at how the car manufacturers are going green!
Green is the way forwards, and if decent designs can be bought for less money we should deffo go for it!

5/01/2008 4:34 AM  
Blogger Lady Lala said...

I have a bag of Harrods

5/01/2008 7:00 AM  
Anonymous Josiee said...

Lovely blog, ill be back!

Love from Sweden!

5/01/2008 8:02 AM  
Blogger Cassie said...

I like the bag and would use it for groceries, errands, etc. I mainly love that my purchase would provide a year's worth of lunch for two school children. I would totally buy the bag if I see it!

5/01/2008 11:12 PM  
Blogger Material Girl said...

I think that the Feed Bag idea is actually pretty wonderful. Not only does it (hopefully) get people to cut down on plastic bags, but it brings to public attention a global problem that most people don't normally think about, and allows a "chic" way to donate for people who, again, might never have done so otherwise. Yay Lauren Bush! The one problem is that, no matter what, producing them still involves running factories and so on and releasing poisons into the air. Oh well...
I don't have the extra funds for a Feed Bag, so I use a Chico bag (www.chicobag.com), which is just a reusable bag that folds up into a tiny little sack that you can toss in your purse. Then I can actually have it with me when I'm grocery shopping, instead of having to remember each time. Lifesaver!
I am glad that "conscious" bags are trendy, because I think it will help increase general awareness. However, I bet some people just buy the bag...and then go on getting plastic at the market.

5/01/2008 11:35 PM  
Anonymous Jessie said...

I've never gotten a specifically eco-friendly bag but why even get one when I just make use of the old or unused school rucksacks lying around in the house? That's recycling in a way. :)

5/02/2008 2:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most countries outside the US are used to bringing their own bags to the grocery store/market so it's funny that it's now 'in' here. I started doing that way back before health food stores became so trendy. Now I have several of the Walmart reusable totes ($1) and I use them everywhere. I also keep a Chico bag (they fold up into a little pouch) in my purse in case I forget the other ones. The eco designer bags are overkill but at least promote a green message. I wouldn't get one and I believe the best 'green' purse is any purse I already have. Also, to the person who made a comment about recycling being not so green, recycling also also means using what you already have so it doesn't have to go into the recycle bin and also just using/buying less period.

5/03/2008 2:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

these bags are soooo cute-

5/15/2008 7:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the Use It Again Sam bags, they are the best bag for the price (6.95 for one) and don't have logos or any other cutesy stuff.

I use mine for everything including taking my boys sports stuff to practice, and out clothes shopping etc. My consumption of plastic bags is now down to just produce bags.

6/20/2008 10:48 PM  
Anonymous Catherine said...

Yes, I agree, tote bag is the way to go, a cloth tote bag is not only re-useable, but also bio-degradable. Check out funtote.com they have manay amazing desinged canvas tote bags.

6/21/2008 4:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just bought a feed bag (in the US) at Whole Foods for $30. I don't remember how many children is "feeds" but the bag itself it amazing and held all my groceries that totaled almost $100.
As for jumping on the eco-bag bandwagon, it is way too expensive considering everyone has bags at home that they use already- totes, duffles, you name it. Just look in your closet or garage and use what you already have

6/21/2008 12:05 PM  
Blogger ThreadBeaur said...

I use and make cloth grocery bags! I think they are a great idea. For one who wants all those flimsy plastic bags all over thier house, and I use them for all shopping. Including on the Mag Mile downtown Chicago! I think they are more fashionable the Macy's bags!

7/13/2008 8:22 AM  
Blogger Season said...

I recently started my own business where I redesign clothing, I salvage parts of old clothing & transform them into something fashion forward. I have a booth at an eco-fair tomorrow & I made these bags using recycled kacki & black jeans & put some matching blk denim eco patches on them, I'm selling them for $22 USD which I think is fair & I haven't seen anything else out there like them. I do have a myspace page under construction but look me up in the future for eco-friendly reclaimed clothing at Seasons Change Designs

10/25/2008 1:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also make a line of very unique bags-- OlovesM
OM for what you chant in yoga, I was actually in yoga class, when the idea popped into my head for my bag line!!
I love my bags and they are all made in Colorado - it has been a great learning experience to produce a repurposed bag line, in the US and with very cool fabrics!

You can see some here:


1/18/2009 12:40 PM  
Anonymous thisoldhippie said...

My family and I get together every weekend, and have what is called "Hippie Day" We've been doing this since the early 80's First with shirts now a day tote bags. Now, that they are starting to charge to use plastic bags. I'm sure more and more people are going to look for unique bags such as the ones you have above... Great post!!

2/28/2009 6:55 AM  
Anonymous Jimmy D. said...

Interesting read.
I think eco friendly bags are growing more and more important as consumers become more eco aware. Personally, I purchase my eco friendly bags here

3/13/2009 3:52 AM  
Anonymous Anthony said...

Totally worth it...'coz it's more than just a bag...I've read many articles regarding this product at http://www.smartbag.com.au/blog ---very nice!

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I bought one of your bags OlovesM myecobags.com like 6 years ago and it still looks like new I do have to confess I was taking it to yoga but I've used it now more for the beach perfect for sandy situations�� I always get compliments on it as well��

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