"Frusack" – the ecological alternative to plastic bags

Posted on 08 December 2016.

In the Czech Republic, two students have developed a shopping bag made from organic material. An invention that could spell the end of plastic bags!

The story of a plastic bag can be told in three numbers: 1 second to be produced, 30 seconds of use, 400 years to break down.

Plastic bags are one of the biggest threats to the environment. Thin and light, they fly off or break easily, so much so that they are often used only once. Of the 500 billion bags distributed annually worldwide, 80% end up in the environment. The story of a plastic bag can be told in three numbers: 1 second to be produced, 30 seconds of use, 400 years to break down.

In the Czech Republic, where each person uses approximately 400 plastic bags a year, two students have invented an environmentally friendly alternative: a biodegradable and recyclable bag made from organic material.

An organic material bag

In 2015, Hana Němcová and Tereza Dvořáková - friends and medical students- became alarmed at the plastic bags piling up in their closets. So they set up Infiberry, a start-up specializing in the design of environmentally friendly products for storing foods. The pilot product - the Frusack - is a shopping bag designed for fruit and veg.

It is made from polylactic acid (PLA), a fully degradable substance created from the fermentation of starch - present in some plant material such as corn, rice and potatoes.

First made into coils of thread, the PLA is then woven into bags in a workshop in Prague. Each bag is decorated with a cotton label and a ribbon made of viscose - a plant based textile with a texture similar to that of silk. The result is a thin, tough, waterproof bag, with a capacity of 5 liters that can carry 1.5 kilos of fruit and vegetables, and which lasts around two years.

Whatever way you look at it the Frusack is an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic bags. Firstly, because its production process requires 65% less energy than plastic bags - but also because it is recyclable and fully biodegradable.

The end of plastic bags?

The invention was officially presented in Prague on September 10, 2016. An e-shop, where consumers can buy five bags for twenty euros, will soon be online. Hana and Tereza also hope to work with supermarket chains, and their goal is to quickly begin exporting their bag. Other ecological food storage products will be developed in the coming years.

Generally speaking the Frusack could help change mentalities about plastic bags. It is fully in line with the European Union Directive committing Member States to limiting the annual consumption of every inhabitant to 40 plastic bags by 2025. Hopefully by then we will be putting all our shopping into Frusacks!

Find out more:

- Plastic bags lead a double life
- Icelandic design: a biodegradable bottle made from seaweed