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Anya Hindmarch

Single-use plastic bags continue to be popular as they are cheap and convenient even five years after the British government imposed a tax on their use. Before her time first with her 'I Am Not A Plastic Bag' launched with supermarket giant Sainsbury’s fourteen years ago, and then later with her 'I Am A Plastic Bag' campaign, British designer Anya Hindmarch has always led the charge on raising awareness of the environmental damage caused by single-use shopping bags. She returns once again with The Universal Bag, her latest sustainable fashion initiative.

When 'I Am Not A Plastic Bag' launched in 2007, Hindmarch's bag became an in-demand accessory and could be seen on the arms of the most fashionable at the time. That hype has been a hard act to follow, but Hindmarch is not deterred. This so-called next generation, reusable shopping bag is defined by "Eco not Ego" with Sainsbury’s and Waitrose coming together to collaborate with Hindmarch and Solent Group to create an oversized tote bag with a smiley face logo and racer-style straps. In addition to being practical and durable, it is hoped that the design of the bag will be desirable - creating one customers can feel excited to be seen with and will therefore be motivated to take care of.  

Despite its aesthetic appeal, it is the substance and not the style of this accessory that Hindmarch hopes will set it apart from any other. Each Universal Bag is made from 100% recycled plastic, is itself fully recyclable with minimum effort, and is guaranteed to last at least ten years. Each step and material used in making the bag has been fully certified under the Global Recycling Scheme making it a truly 100% recycled product. 

At present the bag is being offered in burgundy to reflect Sainsbury’s signature colour, and it will be available in racing green when it goes on sale in Waitrose later this month. Hindmarch is also in talks with other supermarket chains globally to carry the bag. Each partner will be allowed to customise their own exclusive version of The Universal Bag in keeping with their own brand in the hopes that the bag will encourage shoppers to think of long-term solutions and encourage a greater reuse mindset.

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