7 Benefits Of Using Eco-Friendly Calico Bags For Shopping

consumerism, eating and eco friendly concept - woman with white reusable canvas bag for food shopping over supermarket on background

Calico bags, named for the fabric from which they’re made, have found popularity in Australia and many other parts of the world due to their eco-friendliness and functionality. The plain, woven textile used for these bags is created from unbleached cotton fibres—the majority of which are only partially processed. 

Environmentally friendly products such as calico bags are the future of consumer products. This is because of the need to slow down production of plastic bags, due to the non-biodegradable nature. In this article, we’ll detail seven benefits of using these eco-friendly bags:

  1. They Are Comfortable to Carry

Despite the traditional reliance on plastic bags, most can’t handle heavy contents. When they’re used to carry big loads, plastic bags tend to thin out at the handle, cutting into the hands of the carrier and often breaking completely. Calico bags are better alternatives thanks to their stronger and wider handles. These reduce the pressure on the hands of the carrier, making them more comfortable to carry. Many even have long enough straps to be worn over the shoulder. 

  1. They Act As Fashion Accessories

These days, reusable bags aren’t just plain and functional. Many feature eye-catching designs, are made from coloured fabric and come in all different sizes, making them perfect for fashion-conscious shoppers. In Australia, in particular, more and more designers are releasing bespoke calico bags to meet consumer demand. There are even companies like Calico Bags Australia who custom print high-quality bags in all different styles, with designs from logos to photographs. 

Shoppers can even buy calico bags in their favourite colours to match them with their favourite outfits. 

  1. They Are Reusable and Durable

Calico bags are highly reusable compared to plastic bags. Most plastic bags are single-use, which makes them a major source of environmental waste. Calico bags, on the other hand, are suitable for dozens of uses depending on the user’s ability to take care of them. Of course, their reusability ultimately depends on their construction, with hand-made bags typically more fragile.

Generally speaking, calico bags are also very durable, and able to carry heavier contents than plastic bags. The risk of spilling their contents is also minimal as they don’t tear easily when caught on sharp objects.

  1. They Can Be Repurposed

Once they’ve been used substantially and no longer have the strength to carry shopping, calico bags can be repurposed. The fabric can be cut and used for many different craft projects, from flower pot holders to household cleaning rags. When washed, bags with nice designs are suitable for crafts like homemade pillow covers or framed art.

The bags are also biodegradable, which makes them suitable for composting. Through the eco-friendly process of composting, calico bags decompose into the soil, thereby reducing the amount of waste that goes into landfill.

White calico tote bag
  1. They Take Up Less Storage Space

Shoppers tend to collect large numbers of plastic bags with every shopping trip, in order to carry all of their goods. As plastic bags build up in their homes, clutter can grow and many people resort to throwing them away. With calico bags, shoppers only need a few units that can be folded up and stored with ease, reducing both waste and space.

  1. They Encourage Environmental Responsibility

Environmental responsibility is a huge trend today, but unlike many other fads, this one is actively good for the planet. Using calico bags, just like other reusable goods, encourages others within your sphere of influence to assess their own use of single-use goods and consider using them, too. 

  1. They Are Cost-Saving

The world is gradually adjusting to life without single-use plastic bags, particularly in Australia where their sale and distribution is banned in many states. According to the National Retail Association (NRA), plastic bag circulation was cut by 80% nation-wide within three months of major supermarkets Woolworths and Coles announcing they’ll no longer give out free plastic bags. Instead, shoppers can buy reusable plastic bags for AUD$0.15 each or bring their own bags along with them.

Thus, shoppers can save considerable costs by using their own calico bags, rather than buying plastic bags. 


The use of calico bags over plastic is a simple way to make a difference to the planet’s sustainability. Aside from being more environmentally friendly, calico bags are durable, reusable and comfortable. They’re also a trendy alternative to single-use bags, with many colours and designs available at affordable price points.

In Australia, their use is more than a practical one; it’s also a cost-saver, due to the imposed cost of plastic bags in most states. Therefore, switching to calico bags helps both the planet and your wallet.