Some are intended as single-use disposable products, though people may reuse them for storage or as bin liners, etc; others are designed as reusable shopping bags.
The reusable shopping bag is a type of shopping bag which can be reused many times, in contrast to single-use paper or plastic shopping bags. It is often a tote bag made from fabric such as canvas, natural fibres such as jute, woven synthetic fibers, or a thick plastic that is more durable than disposable plastic bags, allowing multiple use. Other shoppers may use a string bag or a wheeled trolley bag
Sturdy reusable carrier bags, sometimes called bags-for-life in the UK, are sold in supermarkets and apparel shops. In a 2011 study of U.S. retail chains (funded by a pro-business group that opposes plastic bag bans), 23% of reusable bags were found to have levels of lead that were higher than the 100 ppm standard considered safe for product packaging, though did not present a risk of contaminating food,resulting in some chains changing suppliers. Reusable bags require more energy to produce than common plastic shopping bags. One reusable bag requires the same amount of energy as an estimated 28 traditional plastic shopping bags or eight paper bags. "If used once per week, four or five reusable bags will replace 520 plastic bags a year", according to Nick Sterling, research director at Natural Capitalism Solutions.A study commissioned by the United Kingdom Environment Agency in 2005 found that the average cotton bag is used only 51 times before being thrown away.In some cases, reusable bags need to be used over 100 times before they are better for the environment than single-use plastic bags
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