Is ecobag biodegradable? (9 advantages of ecobags) 

In this article, it shall be explored whether ecobags are biodegradable or not. Other topics that shall be covered would be: 

  • What is an ecobag?
  • What is biodegradability?
  • Why do we need ecobags?
  • Why is the biodegradability of ecobags important?
  • Is ecobag eco-friendly as well?
  • Is ecobag hard on the pocket?
  • FAQs

Is ecobag biodegradable?

Yes, ecobag is biodegradable because it is mostly made from natural materials like cotton, canvas, jute or paper. 

The use of natural materials in ecobags makes them biodegradable and eco-friendly, provided they are used, produced and disposed of in the right ways.

Ecobags are also budget-friendly because they can be reused and provide strong durability as compared to plastic bags which are intended for a single-time use only. 

What is an ecobag?

As the name suggests, ecobags are bags that are made from natural materials such as paper or cotton. Since natural materials are used in the manufacture of these bags, ecobags are claimed to be environmentally friendly. 

Since the advent of industrialisation and commercialisation, the consumer market has been introduced with a plethora of amazing inventions and commercial interventions. These products came at low prices and offered amazing benefits and advantages. 

Among these consumer products, plastic products which were made from polymers were perhaps the most significant commercial product which was synthesised by man. 

However, these commercial products, other than offering good value for money, came at grave environmental costs. It is seen that the use of plastic products has damaged the world immensely because the implications of plastic use expand to all parts of the globe negatively. 

In response to the negative effects of plastic bags, there are ecobags available that do not use plastics. Instead, natural materials are used to make these bags. Examples of these natural materials may be paper, cotton or jute. 

The following materials may be used to make ecobags 

  • Paper 
  • Cotton (organic, recycled or natural) 
  • Canvas 
  • Jute 
  • Recycled plastic
  • Hemp 

It is further claimed that recycled materials are used in the manufacture of these ecobags implying that environmental consideration is kept the utmost priority while also featuring the famous 3R (reuse, reduce and recycle). 

What is biodegradability?

In order to truly understand whether ecobags are biodegradable or not, it is important to first fathom and clarify what biodegradability is. 

Biodegradability is the process of conversion of waste to simpler substances so that they may become a part of nature again. 

This process is carried out by microbes such as bacteria, fungi, algae, yeast or protozoa. These microbes are responsible for breaking the inner structure of complex waste into simpler structures.

Biodegradability can be termed as nature‚Äôs own way of dealing with and disposing of waste. If that does not happen, the waste may accumulate and toxicate the environment. This will cause harm to life and the environment. 

Natural substances are more prone to the process of biodegradability whereas man-made substances are not biodegradable. That is because microbes are unable to break the structure of man-made substances and as a result, these substances may persist for hundreds of years. 

What is the need for ecobags? (9 advantages of ecobags) 

It already has been established that man-made substances may persist in the atmosphere or the environment for a very long time. In this process, they cause countless threats to the environment and human health. 

Conventional bags are made from polymers which are man-made substances. Since polymers are non-biodegradable, they may persist in the environment for hundreds of years. 

Conventional plastic bags cause a lot of harm to the environment. These may include: 

  • Loss of life
  • Species endangerment 
  • Species extinction
  • Pollution of water bodies
  • Infiltration into food chains
  • Global warming
  • Soil erosion
  • Deforestation 
  • Acid rain
  • Change in soil pH
  • Destruction of crops 

Other than these harmful effects on the environment, conventional plastic bags are also linked to numerous health risks as well. These are: 

  • Skin issues
  • Eye diseases
  • Lungs issues
  • Neurological problems
  • Damage to foetus 
  • Cancers 

In contrast to these effects, ecobags offer the following 9 advantages: 

  • Fewer carbon emissions
  • Waste Reduction
  • Better waste management
  • Better recycling 
  • Reduced pollution 
  • Reduced toxicity in the environment 
  • Lesser species endangerment 
  • Decreased use of petroleum 
  • Decreased health risks 

Is ecobag biodegradable?

As it has been established that natural materials are easily biodegradable and that ecobags are made from natural materials such as jute, canvas, cotton or paper; it can be said that ecobags are biodegradable. 

The use of natural materials to make ecobags make them compatible with the degradative capacity of microbes and as a result, ecobags can degrade in a few months. 

Unlike conventional plastic bags which may require more than 400 years to degrade, ecobags can become a part of nature again in just a few months saving our environment from numerous environmental damages that have been mentioned in the previous sections. 

Why is the biodegradability of ecobag important? 

Biodegradability is a matter of high importance because we currently face a grave situation in terms of environmental health which is expected to further exacerbate with time. The current population stands at 8 billion which is expected to increase to 11 billion by 2100. 

More population means more waste production and a need for better waste management. However, the situation already is quite despondent let alone meet the future needs. The current waste production stands at 2 billion tons globally which is expected to increase exponentially. 

Even now, as much as 40% of the waste generated is exposed to open dumps and not given proper treatment. 

Now even in such dire scenarios, if waste does not degrade in some months rather they take hundreds of years to degrade, then the situation becomes rather impossible to tackle. 

The use of non-biodegradable plastic bags simply means that we are extracting the Earth’s ability to sustain life, driving not just humans but all species towards the dark corners of extinction. 

In this situation, the need for biodegradable products has become extremely important. Because otherwise, there is no way out for humans to sustain on the earth, let alone thrive. 

Is ecobag environmentally friendly?

Although it has been validated that ecobags are biodegradable because they are made from natural plant-based materials, it does not necessarily mean that ecobags are eco-friendly as well. 

It is a misconception that if something is biodegradable, it should also be eco-friendly as well. Although there is a link between biodegradability and eco-friendliness, there are many factors that create a rift between the two.

Factors such as how a product is produced, how it is used and how it is disposed of are very important in determining whether a product is eco-friendly or not despite being biodegradable. 

For example, consider a product that is biodegradable. Biodegradable products are disposed of in green colours dustbins because such dustbins are particularly designed and intended for biodegradable waste. 

If a biodegradable product is not disposed of in green dustbins it may still cause harm to life and the environment because it is seen that many biodegradable products release harmful and toxic gases during the process of degradation. 

Another example can be how a product is produced/manufactured. Let us say that a biodegradable product is used by employing unsustainable and nonrenewable resources while also the use of agrochemicals is linked. 

Even though the product is biodegradable, the use of agrochemicals and non-renewable sources of energy make the product harmful to the environment. 

Therefore, it is proposed that ecobags may be biodegradable. But in order for ecobags to be eco-friendly, it must be ensured that the production process makes use of renewable sources of energy in a sustainable manner. 

Ecobags must be used in a sustainable manner as well because otherwise, stress will be put on the production process and this stress may be met by the use of harmful chemicals such as fertilisers and pesticides. 

Lastly, the disposal of ecobags is also of great importance because if ecobags are not disposed of rightly, the environment may still be at some risk. 

All these factors are extremely important in determining whether ecobags are eco-friendly or not. 

Is ecobag hard on the pocket?

It has been established that ecobags are biodegradable and can also be eco-friendly if they are used, produced and disposed of in the right ways. 

People often ask that although ecobags are not hard on the environment, are they budget-friendly as well?

A common perception about ecobags is that they are not budget-friendly even though they may be eco-friendly. However, studies have proven otherwise.

This is because ecobags have the advantage of being reused whereas conventional plastic bags are intended for one-time use only.

As per research, more than 40 percent of manufactured plastic bags are intended for single use only and may be used for only a few hours whereas they may persist in the environment for up to a thousand years.

On the other hand, ecobags made from paper or pulp can be reused because they are durable as well. That is why, ecobags are more pocket friendly as compared to plastic bags. 

According to a study, an average person spends about 800 dollars on plastic bags but if he shifts to ecobags, he may need to spend only 50 to 100 dollars because ecobags can be reused. 

Conclusion

It can be concluded that ecobags are made from natural materials like cotton, canvas, jute or paper. 

The use of natural materials in ecobags makes them biodegradable and eco-friendly, provided they are used, produced and disposed of in the right ways.

Ecobags are also budget-friendly because they can be reused and provide strong durability as compared to plastic bags which are intended for a single-time use only.

Frequently Asked Questions: Is ecobag biodegradable?

Can ecobags be composted?

Yes, since ecobags are mostly made from plant-based products, ecobags can be composted to be used as a natural fertiliser.  

How long do ecobags take to degrade?

Ecobags may degrade in 5-12 months depending upon the material used to make and external conditions. 

References 

  • Aguilar, A. D. O., Bascos, N. M. V., Lucena, A. B., & Seva, R. R. (2020, December). Designing Eco Bags for Product Attachment. In Joint Conference of the Asian Council on Ergonomics and Design and the Southeast Asian Network of Ergonomics Societies (pp. 328-337). Springer, Cham.
  • Kassymbekova, N. E. (2015). Green Business: Eco-bags.
  • Joshi, R. N. (2013). Comparative Study of Poly and Eco-friendly Packaging Bags. Man-Made Textiles in India, 41(6).
  • Ecosacks. Top 8 Advantages Of Eco Friendly Bags 2022. Retrieved from: https://www.eco-sacks.com/post/advantages-of-eco-friendly-shopping-bags
  • Evans, David. (December 26, 2019). Advantages of using eco-friendly bags. Retrieved from: https://plastic.education/advantages-of-using-eco-friendly-bags/

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