A Complete Guide to Reusable Bag Materials

Now people's environmental awareness is getting higher and higher, the daily use of bags are also choosing reusable bags, so there are so many kinds of materials can make bags, how to choose?

Table of Contents

We are often asked by purchasers what material should be used for the best reusable bags. In fact, there are advantages and disadvantages to each material, but what is certain is that any reusable bag is more environmentally friendly than a disposable paper or plastic bag. In the long run, switching to reusable shopping bags could save money.

Each year as many as millions of birds, sea turtles and other marine animals die from ingesting plastic bags. The plastic can clog their digestive systems, causing the animals to starve to death. Some animals can drown after becoming entangled in plastic bags. We have repeatedly called for a reduction in the use of plastic bags, and everyone doing their small part to protect the environment is defending our planet, so we should turn to reusable, eco-friendly bags.

There is a wide variety of reusable fabric bags on the market in materials such as cotton and canvas, jute, hemp, nylon and polyester. So how do you choose the best reusable bag for your needs? This article will list the advantages and disadvantages of various materials to help you make your decision.

1. Cotton

Cotton is a natural fiber, easily biodegradable, and the surface can be printed with patterns and logos on-demand, making it a perfect bag material. In general, cotton is machine washable and easy to use.

Cotton bags are also divided into conventional cotton, organic cotton and recycled cotton. Organic cotton is grown without the use of pesticides and certified using global standards. Recycled cotton consists of recycled organic cotton and conventional cotton waste, which is recycled or spun into new yarn. Cotton is available in different weights, measured in ounces. Cotton is often considered to be the best material for producing reusable food bags because it offers many advantages.

  • Advantages: Cotton is a renewable resource, biodegradable, strong and durable, comfortable to the touch surface, machine washable in cold water, and can be screen printed and heat transferred.
  • Disadvantages: not moisture-proof, growing cotton is very water-intensive, traditional cotton requires a lot of pesticides, cotton is bulky and therefore expensive to transport, machine washing may shrink and wrinkle.

2. Jute

Jute is a long, lustrous natural plant fiber made into very strong threads, which are usually thick and long, making jute bags strong as well. Jute grows in areas with high rainfall, so it consumes little water and requires little to no pesticides. Jute has a natural and renewable resource. It is also a compostable plant fiber, so its negative impact on the environment is minimized.

Bags made from jute are very durable and relatively inexpensive, and look stylish, carrying a jute bag is like advertising yourself as an environmentalist

  • Advantages: biodegradable and compostable, renewable resource, durable, no need for pesticides and extensive water irrigation, can be blended with other fabrics
  • Disadvantages: not water and moisture resistant, rough texture, not very suitable for printing fine patterns.

3. Hemp

Hemp is a natural fiber that is three times stronger than cotton. It can be grown in poor soil. Moreover, it does not require much water for irrigation and does not need pesticides. Bags made from hemp are strong and durable, and hemp can be blended with other fibers that are not as cheap as cotton.

  • Advantages: sturdy and durable, machine washable and dryable, low water consumption
  • Disadvantages: few places to grow it, high price.

4. PP

Polypropylene is a form of plastic – a flexible resin polymer. Due to low cost and lightweight and relative durability, non-woven polypropylene bags are considered by some to be the best reusable shopping bags available. PP is 100% recyclable and the surface of the bag is suitable for screen printing or heat transfer printing.

Although these bags are not compostable or biodegradable, they are already very environmentally friendly compared to traditional HDPE food bags.

  • Advantages: recyclable, strong and durable, can be made from recycled materials, chemical resistant, rich colors, easy to clean, flexible printing methods
  • Disadvantages: not biodegradable or compostable, petrochemicals, non-renewable resources, machine washing not recommended.

5. Nylon

Nylon is durable as we all know, but it takes twice as much energy to produce as cotton, it is a synthetic polymer, and it is not biodegradable.

  • Advantages: lightweight material, strong and durable, foldable and easy to compress, easy to dye, waterproof, easy to print
  • Disadvantages: like PP, it is a petroleum product and decomposes slowly.


RPET bags are made from recycled plastic bottles. RPET bags are both durable and environmentally friendly, creating a market for post-consumer recycled materials. It allows non-renewable resources to be reused and reduces waste. And RPET bags are durable!

  • Advantages: less energy consumed for production, can be blended, more printing methods, durable.
  • Disadvantages: belongs to plastic products, plastic bottles will consume extra energy for transportation sorting and recycling, machine washing is not recommended.


After introducing the above several reusable environmental protection bag materials, do you decide which one you want to choose? If still undecided, you can contact us according to your product needs and we can help you develop the most suitable reusable bags for you, which both promote your company and protect the environment.

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