no to plastic bags yes to fairtrade shopping basketsSay no to plastic bags, say yes to Fair Trade shopping baskets handmade of natural materials.

Choose Fairtrade shopping baskets handmade of natural materials - they are excellent good use products that replace environmentally harmful plastic bags. Plastic bags have already been banned in several countries of the world *). There are many good environmental reasons for banning plastic bags: They are most often used only once - but as litter in nature or sea - the plastic bags take 100-500 years to degrade. During the degradation time they make a chemical load (leakage of toxins) into the environment. Animals suffer – and dies – directly due to that they e.g. swallow plastic; seabirds feed on pieces of plastic, cows swallow thin plastic bags while grazing.
8-20 million tons of plastic waste ends up in the oceans every year. Ca 15% lands on beaches, 15% floats on the surface, 70% sinks to the bottom of the seas. The global production of plastic has doubled during the last 15 years. The production 2013; 299 million tons was 4% higher than the year before. An average person living in Western Europe or North America consumes 100 kilograms of plastic each year, mostly in the form of packaging. In Europe, 26% was recycled, in USA 9%.
Plastic bags are substantially (92% EU 2010) made of a finite resource; crude oil.**)

Citing Magnus Breitholtz , Professor of Ecotoxicology Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM ), Stockholm University in Swedish Society for Nature Conservation Report : Everything you ( do not ) want to know about plastic : " Even without the dangerous chemicals, plastic usage result in climate - and littering problems. Minimization of the total output of plastic and to reduce use are important steps in the right direction. " ***)

Considering animals, humans and environment today - and tomorrow - say no to plastic bags, say yes to Fair Trade shopping baskets handmade natural materials. Shopping baskets (etc bags) in La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE assortment are all handmade of renewable natural fibres; reed, grass, sisal, raffiapalmleaves. These materials are wild growing without any application of pesticides or artificial irrigation. It is material that has a tradition in the crafts and which sustainable use gives wild growing a place in Madagascar's economic development. The manufacturing is a genuine, small-scale and environmentally friendly crafting. The process from the harvesting of natural fibres to the finished product is highly manual: Palm leaf are harvested by cutting, grass by hand, reeds by cutting etc. The natural fibers are prepared with hand-driven processes and sun-dried. Most of the natural fibres are used undyed. In case dying, dyes that meet requirements for environmental and health (Oeko-Tex 100 standard) are used. Most baskets and bags are sewn together with hand-woven material (outside), plaited reeds (inside). This makes them durable, yet flexible and comfortable in daily use: It is easy to pack goods in the shopping baskets, comfortable to carry, easy to place in e.g. boot or seat. Some have handles made of leather. The leather is vegetable tanned, free from chrome. The leather handles are double stitched and have a braid of sisal inside, which further strengthens the handle and makes it comfortable to hold. There are also shopping baskets with handles made of bamboo and there are several different models of baskets and bags that have shoulder straps of braided sisal or raffia palm leaves.
All the products in La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE range are shipped by sea from Madagascar to Sweden. A minimum of packaging material (recycled cardboard boxes and sacks) are used. In Sweden, the goods are packed in cartons for deliveries to shops; Shops that make a very important work when they make the products available to consumers. Find your nearest under heading “Retailers
View the range of La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE shopping baskets and bags.

*) European Parliament passed a law on 28 of April 2015 which aims to halve the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags in the Union before the end of 2019; maximum 90st plastic bags per person per year. Then further halving by 2025; maximum of 40 plastic bags per person per year. Note that the law applies to lightweight plastic carrier bags (<50 micron). Nothing prevents, however, that countries adopt stricter ban.
Outside the EU, Morocco is one of the countries which have introduced a total ban on plastic bags. The introduction came into force on 1 July 2016. Rwanda introduced the ban on plastic bags back in 2008. A number of countries have introduced a ban on lightweight plastic bags (<50 microns), for example, Madagascar October 2015.

**) Each year July 3 is celebrated International Plastic Bag Free Day. The global campaign organized by Zero Waste Europe and the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA). The campaign website provides information on plastic bags and the argument for reducing the consumption of plastic bags.
Worldwatch Institute: Global Plastic Production Rises, Recycling Lags.
Plastic Oceans Foundation
European Commission Science for Environment Policy IN-DEPTH REPORT: Plastic Waste Ecological and Human Health impacts.
***)Swedish Society for Nature Conservation Report : Everything you ( do not ) want to know about plastic/Naturskyddsföreningens rapport: Allt du (inte) ville veta om plast