It seems a long time ago but back in 2019 we asked you for help. And goodness, you delivered! We were amazed by the huge response to our plea for help in deciding what to do about the plastic bag conundrum. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer and give your valued opinions on the matter.
At first it seemed cut and dry; plastic is bad, paper is good. But it turned out not to be that simple. Plastic is poor at degrading and pollutes our land and sea however, nearly every other option had issues with at least one of the following; carbon footprint, water usage, rainforest destruction, environmentally destructive processing or strength and usability.
With your help, the conclusion we came to was that it is best to re-use a bag as many times as possible and then recycle it - and if it is unlikely to be re-used then it needs to be easily degradable. Having said that, many of you have a favourite bag you use every time you shop - and that is universally considered to be the best way forward on the plastic bag front.
If you don't have your own bag, then the next question is: "What type of bag would be readily reused by Hansfords' customers?" In our opinion, it would be a large clip-close strong bag. We have already seen many of our large bags being reused for shopping, carrying items to the recycling point and even being taken to the gym! On the other hand, it seems that Hansfords' smaller bags are not so often reused. Therefore here is our conclusion:
- Hansfords' large suit bag: Upgrade to a stronger material, move production to the UK to lower our carbon footprint, add onto the bag a message to encourage reuse and then recycle at the end of its lifespan. From our studies even if a plastic bag is reused once, it is better for the environment than any single use bag.
- Hansfords' shirt bag: When current stocks run out, replace with paper bags - until a "better" solution comes along.
- Plastic bag charge: As we, like all retailers, are required to charge 10p for single use bags, we have decided to donate all the money raised from the single use bags to Extra Cover or the Disasters Emergency Committee's Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.
We know this is not a perfect solution but we are, with your help, doing our best to tackle the issue. We will continue to listen to your suggestions and adapt to the changing situation as far as we can. We hope you agree that, as it stands at the moment, this is a good balance between the environment, usability and cost.