Aussie brand develops stylish alternative to plastic bag for retailers

With the ban on plastic bags now in place in most supermarkets around the country, shoppers and retailers are looking for good quality and eco-friendly alternatives.

Eco-fashion business Direct to Source has developed the Eco-Tote using sustainable fabrics such as hemp, organic cotton and recycled polyester (RPET) made from plastic bottles.

Owner Tim Austin says the industry needs to be held accountable on an environmental level.

“Fashion designers and savvy retailers are thought leaders and tastemakers, a position they work hard to achieve and enjoy,” he explains.

“Most of these people are well aware of the environmental impacts of fast fashion and are desperate to start changing the way things are done.”

Clean Up Australia estimates 3.76 billion bags or 20,700 tonnes of plastic are disposed of in landfill sites throughout Australia every year—that translates to 7,150 plastic bags every minute or 429,000 bags every hour. It is also estimated that around 50 million bags enter the Australian litter stream every year.

Austin says major national retailers have already taken up Eco-Tote as their point-of-sale solution. “Over the last few years I’ve travelled the world sourcing the best eco-fabrics and ethical manufacturing solutions and I think a key difference in what we offer is the credentials in these areas.

“Businesses are excited to offer solutions that they know are genuinely certified sustainable.”

In fact the largest hemp fabric manufacturer in the world, for whom Austin is the exclusive Australian distributor, is totally off the grid―entirely solar powered.

Eco-Tote offers a range of fashionable off-the-shelf styles that can be customised with brand artwork or other designs.

“For too long, the options retailers have had for reusable bags have been pretty dated, which is why we saw an opportunity to offer far more sophisticated options that are cool and value for money―not only for the customer but also the business,” says account manager Lisa Van Den Bogaert.

“It seems customers are aware of the cost to the environment from plastic and are happy to pay a few dollars for the sustainable alternative. It also gives them a new ‘branded’ bag that they can continue using and for the retailer, that is marketing gold,” she adds.

By Marion Gerritsen

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