OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Reusable Natural Mesh Bags

Supermarkets to replace free plastic produce bags with reusable mesh bags that have a drawstring and are a small price (5p).

Photo of Ian Waddington
3 5

Written by

This is a very simple idea based on one that has already been implemented with a lot of success. Supermarkets can dictate consumers behaviour by limiting their options. At present supermarkets offer free of charge single use disposable plastic bags for customers purchasing fresh fruit and vegetables. If this option was withdrawn and replaced with a reusable drawstring mesh bag made from sustainable materials, that incurred a small charge but was a 'bag for life' then we could reduce the need for the disposable bags significantly. It would need the support of the supermarket chains to be successful but after implementing the '5p carrier bag charge' so triumphantly, I can't foresee that being a problem. I think major retailers can see that they are accountable for their actions and can also gain positive publicity for backing sustainable working practices that benefit all of mankind, and our planet.   

How does this Idea redesign unrecyclable small format plastic items that often end up as waste?

Supermarkets will no longer give away free thermoplastic bags to carry home fresh fruit and vegetables.

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

The great thing about this idea is it can reach the whole nation because the majority of people use supermarkets for their weekly shopping.

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

I envision the product being introduced similarly to the 5p levy. It would need to be supported by all the major food retailers and legislatively enforced by the government. There may be some backlash from consumers but I believe the vast majority of people recognise that this will be beneficial to everyone in the long term, except for the manufacturers of disposable plastic bags. If the price of the mesh bags is purely to cover costs and any profit goes to charity, even better.

At what stage of development is your Idea?

  • Research & Early Testing: You are exploring an idea, gathering inspiration and information needed to test it with real users.

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea and working with the Think Beyond Plastics Accelerator Program will help to accelerate your solution.

National roll out once legislation has been passed through government.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

Individual idea.

Tell us about your work experience

I am currently an engineering student interested in renewable energy production and environmental sustainability.

Please describe your legal and organizational structure



Join the conversation:

Photo of Vanessa Rey

Hi Ian,
My team saw this fitting in the "packaging sachets" category, at least thats what pushed us to consider a similar solution. Where did you see it fitting into the challenge?

View all comments