Following the sold-out success of “I Am Not a Plastic Bag” in 2007, designer brand Anya Hindmarch has launched a new product, called “I Am a Plastic Bag”, aimed at recycling single-use plastic and leaving behind a net-zero carbon footprint from production.
The initial “I Am Not a Plastic Bag” release was a campaign to raise awareness about disposable plastic bag usage. According to a press release from the company, “The British Retail Consortium estimated that in 2006, the U.K. alone used 10.6bn plastic bags, and this figure dropped to 6.1bn in 2010. Specifically, Sainsbury’s cut the number of bags they gave away by 58% in the two years that followed the campaign, giving out 312m fewer bags in 2008 than 2009 and saving 13,200 tonnes of virgin plastic over two years.”
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Thirteen years later, Hindmarch has decided to shift focus. Instead of centering the campaign around reducing plastic bag usage, the new “I Am a Plastic Bag” is made from a soft, cotton-like fabric constructed from recycled plastic bottles to spotlight the excessive waste generated from single-use plastic.
The manufacturing process begins by washing and sorting the collected bottles before they are shredded and turned into pellets. The pellets are then converted into fibers that are spun and woven into fabric. To achieve the weather-resistant finish, the bags are coated in a recycled PVB made from old windshields. Anya Hindmarch partnered with a Taiwanese company for the finish, which appears to be the only one of its kind that has achieved Global Recycled Standard (GRS) certification.
After considering faux options, the company decided the least impactful trim was real leather. It sourced the natural meat byproduct as a way to recycle the material. Collected from a tannery in Northern Italy, the leather doesn’t travel far to the manufacturing line.
While Anya Hindmarch designers don’t believe that carbon-offsetting is the answer for an industry known for excessive waste and pollution, they also partnered with EcoAct, a global climate change consultant. EcoAct has been measuring the emissions from the I Am a Plastic Bag production in order to make the process carbon-neutral.
As a statement of what the line stands for, Anya Hindmarch closed its doors for three days, completely filling the store with 90,000 discarded plastic water bottles and a post on the door explaining the cause. A limited selection of bags was pre-launched in February at London Fashion Week, and the complete four-color collection will be widely available in April.
Images via Anya Hindmarch