RETAIL: Thermally-insulated shopping bags are more eco-friendly than you think

Thermally-insulated bags - sustainable bags-for-life

SIRANE’S thermally-insulated reusable shopping bags are a lot more environmentally-friendly than you’d perhaps realised… especially when compared with paper or cotton tote bags.

The bags form part of our Earth Packaging range, a range of products that we have put together which are good for the environment: either recyclable, sustainable or compostable.

Simon Balderson, Sirane MD, said: “Thermally-insulated reusable ‘bags-for-life’ form part of our Earth Packaging range, which in the current climate, being a plastic bag, some people might find a bit odd… but we’ve added it to the range because we feel it is ‘green’.

“It’s made from just one component, polyethylene – the handle, film and insulation are all made from polyethylene – which means it is easy to recycle. In fact, it’s the only bag of its type which has the endorsement of the UK Recycling Association.

“Studies show that a paper bag would have to be used at least 4 times to have less environmental impact than a plastic bag, and for most paper bags this is almost impossible.

“And compared to the popular ‘cotton tote’ bags numerous studies have shown that plastic actually has far better environmental credentials, with cotton tote bags needing to be reused thousands of times to have the same environmental impact. Clearly you can make statistics fit with any argument, but not all plastic products are inherently bad.

“A 2018 study in Denmark showed that the ‘break-even point’ of a bag was 37 times for standard plastic bags, 43 times for paper bags and 7,100 times for cotton bags. But the reality is they will never be reused in anything like these levels. A UK study on climate change impact showed that polyethylene bags only needed to be reused 4 times.

“It’s even possible to replace some of the virgin polyethylene with a waste sea shell product, so compared to the insulated woven PP products out there, it’s a far more eco-friendly solution. And after a long life, the bags can just be put in with the recycling.

“Plastic bags also use less energy manufacture, and cause less pollution during the manufacture process, than paper. So, in this case, plastic is the best option… in the whole move to remove plastics, don’t lose sight of the fact that it may be more ‘green’.

Used by supermarket shoppers and small independent food outlets alike, the thermally-insulated bags are a reusable bag ideal for transporting fresh good home, delivery services, marketing and promotion – with many people opting for their own bespoke ‘branded’ bag.

Sirane’s insulated bags come with a unique handle designed to make the bags comfortable for the consumer to carry – they’re the bag your customers will reach for… which means your brand will gain visibility again and again as the customer reuses the bag.

Simon Balderson, Sirane MD, said: “Whether you’re a supermarket or a farm-shop, selling fresh meat or hot-food, insulated bags could be the answer. We can custom-brand or supply with generic print, and digitally printing allows for shorter print runs.

“Our anti-bacterial option can also protect customers long-term against harmful bacteria.”

The ‘danger zone’ for food is between 15OC and 50OC, during which rapid microbial growth takes place – and keeping food away from this temperature zone can prevent food-borne illnesses. However, re-usable bags themselves can also become carriers of harmful bacteria, so an integrated anti-bacterial technology protects against bacteria build-up.

Active anti-bacterial properties (from Biomaster) are built into the insulated bags during the manufacturing process, so the protection will last for as long as the bag does…

“No-one really considers the health implications of re-using shopping bags,” added Simon. “but scientific studies show bacteria build-up can be potentially harmful, and that there’s often as much bacteria on the outside of meat packaging as on the inside. There’s advice out there that people should wash bags-for-life, but how many people do this?

“Anti-bacterial thermally-insulated bags stop customers having to even worry about this – it doesn’t matter how many times they re-use the bag, they are protected.

“As re-usable ‘bags-for-life’ go, this is as good as it gets, with no real down sides. They’re built to last, so you’re minimising the environmental impact, they can easily be recycled, and you’re not having to worry that your bag is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria.”

Both off-the-shelf (available to buy now, from and custom-printed versions of the bag are available, and there  are a range of potential sizes offered, including bags small enough to be lunch-bags.

Sirane is an innovative packaging design, development, manufacture and solutions company which specialises in areas including absorbency and ovenable/microwaveable products, compostable packaging, films, boards, absorbent pads, and much more.

Our Earth Packaging range includes paper-based absorbent pads, plastic-free packaging solutions including pouches/films/bags for dry and moist foods with a range of barriers, compostable bags and films, compostable plant pots and more.

For more information on thermally-insulated bags, or any product in the our packaging range, contact Jeremy Haydn-Davies on +44 1952 230055 or email

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