Lee Jean's "Never Wasted" shopping bag isn't the perfect sustainable solution for shopping bags, but it is a big step towards that ideal. Designed by Happy Creative, a marketing and design agency in Bangalore, India, the paper bag is designed to be cut apart and reused instead of being tossed into the recycling bin. "With the relevance of eco-friendly initiatives increasing every day, Lee wanted an innovative solution that would display their affiliation towards the same and also spread the message amongst their customers," Happy Creative stated on its blog. The resulting creation was the Never Wasted shopping bag. Happy Creative could have followed the pack and paid homage to Lee's commitment to sustainability by designing a shopping bag that was reusable or made of recycled materials. Instead, they put on their creative thinking caps and created something completely unique: a bag that can be re-purposed into a variety of objects. I think this concept has amazing potential for future iterations. Especially if the bag is printed in many different editions. The reasons it falls short of my ideal as a sustainable shopping bag option are 1) it is not clear if the bag is made from recycle materials, 2) the glue and tape required to put together most of the objects that can be created from this bag aren't exactly environmentally-friendly, and 3) I question how many consumers are actually going to take the time to cut this bag up and assemble Lee-branded objects such as a Chutes and Ladders-style game, a little Black Book, and a CD holder. I mean, is the average Lee consumer into Chutes and Ladders and are they still purchasing CDs? And this little Black Book, shouldn't it be called a Little Brown Book? And how well are these items going to hold up as they will be made from brown craft paper? I'm just saying ... But if future iterations of the Never Wasted Bag can be crafted into more practical objects — ones that won't disintegrate after a few uses, ones that Lee consumers will be excited about using — this bag could very well be the "it" shopping bag that attracts environmentally conscious consumers who would have never thought five seconds about buying Lee clothing before. As far as the design currently stands, I have to give Happy Creative and Lee props for their willingness to set themselves apart from the pack of other companies doing the same old, same old when it comes to branding themselves as "green." They went out on a limb and created something truly innovative. Plus, I like that the handles are shoestrings. I really, really like that feature. And one more thing: the bag can always be tossed into the recycle bin "as-is."
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