by Michael dEstries
Categories: Fashion.

im not a plastic bagGreat. I just get done promoting eco-bags on the ‘The Lazy Environmentalist‘ radio show and suddenly the one I chose to highlight is now not that earth buddy-buddy. Of course, this depends on how you look at the trend to begin with. Let’s examine. And for the record, I can’t believe I’m talking about bags.

First off, the giant craze that kicked off this entire run of lunacy and mile-long lines was the “I Am Not A Plastic Bag” canvas tote seen on the arm of Keira Knightley. Produced by fashion designer Anya Hindmarch, these symbols of green/style have sold faster than anyone expected — including the creator. Over 100,000 of these bags sold out in less than 90 minutes last month!

Anyways, apparently it’s come to light that the totes are less than earth-friendly. Here’s the scoop from Treehugger,

“Yesterday the Evening Standard revealed that the so-called green carriers were made in China, using cheap labour. And the bag was neither organic nor fair trade. Never mind the air miles. Handbags at dawn: today Sainsbury’s denies any duplicity, insisting that it had never claimed that the bag was Fairtrade or organic. It says that it was made in a factory that pays double the minimum wage and complies with Chinese labour law. Hindmarch says that it was shipped by sea.” It should be noted that Hindmarch is also offsetting the shipment of these bags.

So, we have that problem.  On the other side, however, one might argue that “Hey, at least people are buying these things and supporting a movement away from plastic.” Hopes and dreams aside, this is probably less than true. Right now, this is a hot item because it is fashionable and less because it’s offering a green alternative. It remains to be seen how positive an impact these bags will have.

In the meantime, since you can’t find this particular sold out item anyways, we would encourage you to check out some bags that are not only green for what they stand for, but also for where they come from.  There’s the Nauti Green Grocery bag made from recycled sailcloths, an Organic Hemp option from Tote Style, Recycled Movie Billboard Totes from Ecoist, etc. The options are wide and varied and if you look around, there’s surely something out there to help cure your plastic bag addiction.

Or, at least wait until Stella McCartney releases her own take on the idea….

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

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