Jute Bag: An Alternative to Plastic Bags

Our habitable environment is changing. It’s no wonder that the change is something other than positive. There are certain issues that we can do nothing about. Then there is man-made pollution. Pollution stayed with our earliest ancestors. But the thing is that it began to intensify in the industrial era.

The endeavor to supply a huge consumer demand makes people use harmful chemical substances that are substantially dangerous to biodiversity. Speaking of harmful chemical substances, plastic, created from the polymerization process has been a concerning issue since it causes havoc to nearly 700 species including seabirds, and other endangered animals.

Plastic is everywhere you’re looking. It even travels through oceans to oceans and ends up on the shores. In the meantime, these plastics cause death to seabirds, seals, fishes, and other wild animals. Land animals also are affected.

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According to researchers’ estimation, since the 1950s, we humans have produced more than 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic. The most concerning issue is that these plastics are hard to recycle and can stay with us for hundreds of years.

But you cannot deny the existence of plastic. The device on which you’re reading may be made of plastic. From airplanes, automobiles to packaging, plastics have been used. We simply can not get rid of the idea of plastic. So what can we do then? Let’s see what statistics say.

Attribution: Our World in Data

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Attribution: “Jute hessian” by cattan2011 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Though we cannot get rid of the use of plastic completely, we can do something to reduce the use of plastic bags. One of the most promising ways is to promote the use of jute-made bags which can be good alternatives to plastic bags.

For those who don’t know what Jute is, it’s a fiber that comes from a long narrow green plant. So jute made bags can be the greenest alternative to plastics. Jute bags are biodegradable since the fibers can be decomposed by living organisms. So it can easily be recycled. Durability hasn’t been a concern when a plastic bag comes with a product.  We assume the bag will last for once.

On the other hand, the jute bags will at least last more than a couple of times. My point is, the jut bags are reusable, maybe for numerous occasions. The rough texture gives a sort of durability that plastic bags lack. 

The use of jute isn’t something new. Way back in the 3rd millennium BC, people of the Indus Civilisation (current India and Pakistan) used jute as textiles. However, the British industrialized jute production. The first jute mill was established in Dundee, Scotland.
Right now, India and Bangladesh are the largest producers of Jute. China, Uzbekistan, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Sudan, and Egypt have contributed to the world’s jute production.

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“Video on Flickr totally bites…..” by PHOTO/arts Magazine is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Jute fabrics have been used for different purposes. Innovation evolves the use of Jute. Two years ago, Bangladeshi scientist Mr. Mubarak Ahmad Khan invented the synthesized jute polymer bag. The bag is almost identical to a polythene bag. This invention of the biodegradable single-use ‘Sonali Bags’ gave hope to replace plastic bags on a large scale in Bangladesh.

However, one year later, the government of Bangladesh, the second-largest producer of jute closed the operations of its state-owned jute mills. Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation is going to lease private companies.

Bangladesh has an appropriate climate to grow jute crops. Foreign direct investments can provide an opportunity to regenerate the industry. It is a matter of time that plastic will be replaced by its alternatives. Paper is a good alternative but it is less likely to be reusable due to its fragile feature. So there is an opportunity for new businesses to penetrate the industry.

Foreign governments do also have a significant role in promoting these biodegradable bags. If they reduce tariffs on the goods made out of jute, jute businesses can flourish and it will encourage entrepreneurs to invest in green businesses. It will promote sustainable growth. Maybe in near future, plastic pollution will be drastically reduced by innovative ideas such as Sonali Bags.

Self-awareness can reduce plastic pollution. Ultimately, we are the consumer. We cannot expect sustainable growth by ignoring the fact that our mismanagement of plastics puts wildlife at stake. If we start to use eco-friendly jute bags, it will encourage the entrepreneurs to stay in the industry. Innovation may happen if people produce Jutes commercially. A dead industry can’t be innovative. It needs support from us.