Organic cotton bags are a popular alternative to plastic shopping bags.
Reusable bags are becoming a huge market, especially since places such as South Australia banned disposable shopping bags totally.
But how much should you pay for a cotton bag, particularly an organic cotton one? They can get quite expensive.
It really depends if you’re going for style vs. function. I’m not a big fan of eco-chic. Fashion is so transitory and often it’s just another term for perceived obsolescence – even in the green sphere at times.
I was provided with some wholesale prices that might indicate some merchants are making more than a healthy profit from organic cotton shopping bags.
I was approached by an Indian company who offered to sell me plain organic cotton shopping bags in bulk for just USD 50 cents each! That’s less than the price of reusable plastic shopping bags.
Plain organic cotton shopping bags like the ones offered to me are often sold in stores for around USD $5.00 – and that’s at the low end.
A couple of things to bear in mind though:
a) The cost of importing
b) The cost of handling
c) The cost of selling (staff salaries) etc.
d) The quality of the materials and construction.
Still, ten times the buy price is quite a markup.
However, something the company didn’t mention and it’s a very important point, is whether these bags made under fair trade principles. For example, are they produced under sweatshop conditions? Fair trade goods cost more to make as the people who make them are paid a fair wage.
Anyhow, it’s something to keep in mind if you’re looking to buy reusable bags – not just the environmental aspect and general quality, but the human element as well.
At 5 bucks a pop retail, if the bag is plain and made in India, it should be made under fair trade conditions. If it doesn’t state it is, it likely isn’t.
Pick up some more tips on choosing reusable shopping bags.