Fifteen years ago, the ground-breaking global launch of “I Am Not A Plastic Bag” raised awareness of the issue of single-use plastic bags. Since then, the use of single-use plastic bags has reduced dramatically but it remains a pressing issue. According to statistics released by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD), around 2,300 tonnes of single-use plastics are disposed daily in Hong Kong, of which single-use plastic bags comprise a significant proportion. In February 2021, the Government announced the Waste Blueprint for Hong Kong 2035, setting out strategies to join hands with the international community to go plastic-free, find suitable plastic alternatives, and continue regulating single-use plastics.
Anya Hindmarch, in collaboration with supermarkets worldwide, is launching a new initiative designed to inspire further change in consumer behaviour – the Universal Bag. The initiative hopes to provide a new shopping bag solution that encourages and cultivates a ‘reuse’ mindset, while aiding global efforts in tackling a range of sustainability challenges.
An industry first, the project is defined by “Eco not Ego”: city’super has come together to collaborate with Anya Hindmarch and Solent Group to create a new generation shopping bag. The project, open to all supermarkets globally, allows each partner to customise their exclusive version of the Universal Bag to ensure brand alignment.
city’super in Hong Kong is the first supermarket to launch the Universal Bag outside of the UK. The exclusive green city’super edition will be available in mid-July 2022 in all city’super stores.
The Universal Bag is made from 100% recycled plastic. Each step and material used in making the bag has been fully certified under the Global Recycling Scheme (GRS), making this a truly 100% recycled product. Each Universal Bag is guaranteed to last 10 years having been extensively tested for durability. It features an innovative, convenient freepost returns pouch, built into a pocket inside the bag. You simply turn the bag into its built-in pocket— which acts as a pre-addressed envelope and then post it through a letter box. It is then 100% recycled locally. In addition to being practical and durable, the Universal Bag is also designed to be desirable. By creating a bag that customers feel excited about and are motivated to take care of, reuse is expected to increase, tackling one of the major issues still surrounding the shopping bag.
In line with the collaborative philosophy of this project, Anya Hindmarch and its production partner Solent Group, have committed to share learnings and insights from this project with all global retailers on request, with the ambition to advance progress in the use, reuse, and recycling of shopping bags around the world.
Anya Hindmarch, Founder and Creative Director, commented: “Everyone needs a bag to move things around. The Universal Bag is designed to offer an alternative solution that saves plastic from landfill, is simple to recycle 100%, is guaranteed for 10 years, and is hopefully special enough to inspire people to use it. When you throw something away, there is no ‘away’. By collaborating on this project, supermarkets globally are showing their continued commitment to reducing the amount of plastic on our planet.”
Thomas Woo, President, city’super, commented: “Crafting a conscious culture requires deliberate effort. In our effort to reduce single-use plastics over the years, we have taken measures to help turn routines into habits favouring the environment over convenience. Something as simple as not offering plastic bags actively during check-out has enormous significance when it comes to everyday shopping at our supermarkets. Each transaction is a chance to reduce negative impacts for the greater good of the environment. When we learned about the new Universal Bag project by Anya Hindmarch, we were thrilled, and decided to collaborate with her right away; as our slogan says, ‘crafting a better lifestyle’ hand in hand with our customers and partners.”
Ashley Symonds, CEO Solent commented: “Both Anya and Solent have a shared heritage in creating and producing market disrupting initiatives that help customers to lead healthier and more sustainable lives. We are delighted to have partnered with Anya and her team on the Universal Bag, which further supports the reduction and need for single-use plastics. The Universal Bag is a beautiful and high-performing product that encourages customers to buy into reusability and sustainability; it’s not a bag you’d ever feel comfortable throwing in the bin. Given the durability of the bag, ideally, it will never need to be recycled but, if it does, we have made it easy for the customer to get it back into the recycling stream – a process that has never been done before. The Universal Bag is a true market-first and another step change in our mission to end single-use plastic bag usage once and for all.”