In a novel new project in time for the Christmas season, Bags of Ethics has collaborated with the Natural History Museum to create an eye-catching festive bag for retail in Tesco.

The reusable cotton shopping bag which is based on the photograph ‘Territorial strut’ by Ross Hoddinott will be available in Tesco stores and Tesco online from November 2016.  Hoddinott was one of the talented photographers commended in the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards in 2011. His stunning portrait shows a robin in thick snow, making the image an ideal representation of the British winter.

As companies known for dedicating time and effort to the preservation or nature and ecological sustainability, Bags of Ethics and the Natural History Museum wanted to create a bag that both showcased the best of Britain’s natural beauty and embodied their own eco-friendly and ethical ideals. Thanks to this philosophy, this Wildlife Photographer of the Year bag, like all Bags of Ethics products, is reusable and made of eco-friendly cotton fabric in a carbon-neutral factory. The bag uses premium Cotton Plus fabric, adding a water-resistant interior layer that gives it added strength and rigidity and allows it to be cleaned and wiped down.

The shopper will be released as part of the annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition which showcases the world’s very best nature photography.  This year’s competition was the most competitive to date – attracting almost 50,000 entries from professionals and amateurs across 95 countries. The 2016 exhibition will open to the public on Friday 21st October 2016 at the Natural History Museum before touring across the UK. Learn more and purchase tickets to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at The Natural History Museum website.


What are the impacts of plastic bag use?

UN Environment program research found that 46,000 pieces of plastic debris floats near the surface of every square mile ocean.

 Giant Killer by Ralph Pace
Giant Killer by Ralph Pace
By Kevin Krejci
Photography By Kevin Krejci
Marine debris found in our oceans

Protecting British Wildlife

Plastic bag waste and pollution is still a key issue for wildlife in Britain.  Plastic bags and fragments are a very mobile type of litter. They can be carried by wind and water into waterways and marine environment. Due to the long time they take to degrade, they are visible dangers to animals through ingestion, entanglement and strangulation. Even when they degrade, they only break down into smaller pieces and contribute to the accumulation of micro-plastics in the environment. 

Award winning photographer Sam Hobson has captured  the devastating effects of plastic bag pollution on British coastlines. Hobson was commissioned by UK charity, Wildscreen to document the devastating effects of plastic bags on bird wildlife. The charity works with many photographers in aid of documenting wildlife conservation. He documented the effects of discarded plastic in Grassholm in Wales, which is home to one of the biggest gannet breeding colonies, or ‘gannetries’, in the world. “The birds use their environment to build their nest: seaweed, plants and feathers. However, they confuse the plastic with natural material and use it, leading to entanglement and asphyxiation.”  Hobson is also known for documenting urban British wildlife and is once again a finalist in this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year for his portrait of an urban fox ‘An inquisitive young fox peeks over a garden wall in urban Bristol’.

Overall, plastic bags are considered the second most harmful items for animals. Entanglement and ingestion are the two main dangers for wildlife that are exposed to marine plastic debris. Among all the types of marine debris, plastic bags are the 4th most common reason for entanglement (after buoys, fishing nets and other traps), the 1st most commonly eaten debris by wildlife and the 4th most severe in terms of contamination (after cigarette butts and other types of plastic packaging). They affect birds, mammals, and turtles.

The UN Environment program research found that “generally, 46,000 pieces of plastic debris floats near the surface of every square mile ocean”. In the ocean, they do not mineralize and just keep breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces. It is dangerous for fish and other wildlife in the ocean: Fish and marine life ingest debris which damages their digestive systems. They act like a sponge and absorb pollutants, and then seep these pollutants into the wildlife that eats them.

Read more about environmental impact of plastic bag waste and environmental research studies here.

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