Paper Beats Rock, Jute Beats Paper: Benefits of Jute Reusable Grocery Bags Over Paper Grocery Bags
Since the 17th century, the West has been using jute to make textiles like the people of East Bangladesh have for centuries before them. Jute is a vegetable plant whose fiber is dried in long strips. Called “the golden fiber” by the people of the Ganges Delta because of its usefulness and cash value, jute is making a comeback in the west as a fiber useful to agriculture and commerce. When used in the production of grocery bags as an alternative to paper bags, jute is both the more environmentally friendly choice, and the more cost effective long term. Here are some points of comparison to ponder:
Jute can be grown year round, and is harvested every six months. To produce the same volume of wood fiber can take decades and requires much larger tracts of land to cultivate. Jute fibers are tougher and more resilient than paper made from wood pulp, and can withstand prolonged exposure to water and weather.
Jute is 100% biodegradable, low-energy recyclable, and can even be used as compost for the garden. Paper, on the other hand, takes longer to biodegrade if it is untreated, uses more energy in its recycling process, and for most kinds of paper does not compost well at all. It is clear in terms of reusability and recyclability, jute bags are far greener and possess more ecological benefits than paper bags.
The woody core of the jute plant, called hurd, has thousands of potential industrial and commercial uses. As an alternative to wood, hurd is capable of meeting most of the world’s demand for wood and wood products. Using hurd and jute fibers means that the level of deforestation to meet the current demand for paper and wood could be significantly decreased if they were used as an alternative.
Ultimate Benefits of Jute Bags
After even a cursory analysis, jute is clearly the superior substance for making reusable grocery bags. In addition to jute bags being sturdier, greener, and longer lasting, the jute plant offers many ecological benefits beyond better grocery bags. Jute can be grown in abundance without the use of pesticides or fertilizers. It also requires less land to cultivate, which means that growing jute preserves more natural habitats and wilderness for other species to flourish. Best of all, jute absorbs tremendous amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and when combined with reduced deforestation jute may help reduce or reverse global warming. Next time you are looking for a reusable bag for groceries or other purposes, choose jute. Choose jute, and maybe change the world.