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Placeholder’s Biodegradable Bamboo Bag fills the loophole in New York’s plastic bag ban

Starting on March 1 2020, single-use plastic bags will be banned across the state of New York. That’s a big victory for the planet; it’s estimated that the state goes through 23 billion plastic bags every year with half ending up in landfills, where they never decompose. But unfortunately, the ban isn’t quite airtight. There are loopholes that allow places serving uncooked or prepared foods to continue using plastic bags.

To counter this, Brooklyn-based design studio Placeholder has created the Biodegradable Bamboo Bag. They have recreated a novelty bag they discovered while visiting Taiwan by using renewable, sustainable bamboo fibre instead of plastic. The design allows a single sheet of fibre to cradle whatever you’re carrying without any wasted space or material, and it will safely decompose when you’re done with it.

The bag is the natural successor to Plastic Paper, a 144-page book that Placeholder launched in 2019 that acts as a catalogue of single-use plastic bag designs that were found in New York over a seven-year period. It was born out of an appreciation for everyday ‘normal’ design and its contribution to the aesthetic culture of New York. All of its profits are donated towards Parley’s fight against the plastic that is destroying our oceans.

Placeholder’s mission is to use design to help reduce our dependence on single-use plastics. They are on the hunt for a partner to help them launch the Bamboo Bag, as well as other ideas, on a larger scale. For now, the bags will be launching alongside the ban on March 1, and will be available to purchase in packs of 10 for $20, or as part of a bundle with the Plastic Paper book.

Photography: Henry Hargreaves / Naoko Maeda

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