With the rising amount of plastic pollution across the globe, the importance to implement a zero waste lifestyle is even more crucial. That being said, people are replacing their carrier bags made from a single use plastic to a long-lasting and multifunctional tote bag. However, you might want to put extra attention to the tote bag you choose as this alternative is often made from a cotton material that is as harmful as plastic bags. Here's why:
Conventional cotton plantations require high amount of insecticides to grow. This consumes 16% of the world's insecticides yearly usage. The pesticides and insecticides used by the cotton manufacturing industry contaminate the plantation soil and defertilise the soil for further farming. During farming, the chemical additives also polllute the air we breathe and the water we drink, potentially causing people who are exposed to this air and water to suffer from birth defects, miscarriages and even death from cancer.
The majority of cotton farmers and staff work extremely long hours, which puts them in a dangerous situation of long-hour exposure to the harmful chemical mentioned above. Additionally, these non-ethical labour practices tend to minimise the operational cost resulting in minimum wages to their workers, leaving the workers impoverished.
Hence, what other alternatives are there available for you to keep this harmful situation to a minimum? 1 People suggests to opt for more eco-friendly products. Sustainable brands are now selling tote bag made from organic cotton or materials that are organic certified. This is to ensure that there is no land, air or water are contaminated by hazardous chemical substances. On top of that, opting for an eco-friendly tote bag means keeping the farmers, who harvest the cotton or other materials, in a conducive working environment through fair trade and ethical plantation procedures.