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Lush Cosmetics and their fashionable alternative to plastic carrier bags

If you are based in England, any trip to the shops now has an added caveat, the 5p charge for a plastic carrier bag.

With around eight million tonnes of plastic entering the world’s oceans as waste every year (not to mention the many more that end up in landfill sites) initiatives like the 5p charge could be crucial for reducing plastic pollution.

But for the consumer this new law means that you either have to carry a spare plastic bag in your pocket, or pay the added fee. I was happy to do this until I discovered an alternative during a shopping trip to beauty retailer Lush Cosmetics.

In the run up to Christmas, I would like to shop without being laden by bags, and a trip into Lush revealed their brilliant vintage Knot-Wraps, which you can get, instead of plastic bags.

Coming in a range of styles, these vintage print scarves can be tied neatly in a knot around whatever beauty products you have bought.  They cost £4.50 (more than the bag charge I hear you say), but they also double up as two presents for yourself, or for whoever you are buying for. You can re-use them and rewrap them constantly, instead of using a carrier bag.

According to Lush the wraps are based “on the Japanese tradition of furoshiki” (a type of traditional Japanese wrapping cloth) and each Knot-Wrap is either vintage or made from organic cotton or created from two recycled plastic bottles, extra kind to the environment. The wraps are also a lot chicer, and fold up neatly in your purse to be used again and again as a scarf, accessory or tote.

“Changes in our shopping routines are due to continue with consumer/brand attitudes progressively changing. It will becoming increasingly important for a brand to consider both environmental and ethical criteria when designing and manufacturing products as a response to consumers with an heightened awareness and care for where their products come from,” says Zana Ajvazi, WGSN Assistant Editor of Textiles who undertakes sustainability research as part of her role.

On the surface it looks a little strange that a beauty brand would be a trailblazer of plastic bag alternatives, but Lush is definitely a beauty brand with a difference, and actually this is totally in line with the brand ethos. This is the same retailer that focuses on making soaps, body washes and other beauty products from fresh fruit and veg, as well as essential oils, and doesn’t agree with animal testing. Extending the environmentally friendly ideals to packaging just makes sense.

The Knot-Wraps work because they don’t feel like a marketing ploy, and they are not covered in branding, plus they are beautiful prints so from a consumer perspective you want to be seen carrying them. While from a brand prospective, placing these wraps by the till is a savvy move for the brand to boost accessories sales in addition to main purchases, while remaining authentic and true to the brand ethos.

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