Last week the EU announced the potential banning of plastic bags as it outlined proposals to reduce the number of plastic bags used in Europe each year after a public consultation revealed that more than four billion were thrown away each year. After massive campaign a few years ago lately I have noticed fewer people using the jute and other alternative shopping bags whilst doing their shopping, myself included and so was not surprised to find out that after four years of decline the use of carrier bags in the UK actually rose by 5% in 2010.
From clogging up waterways to causing untold environmental damage plastics bags have been on the global agenda for a while, and according to a report on the BBC website Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Bangladesh and China have already banned very thin plastic bags; Tanzania has banned ultra-thin plastic bags; whilst Rwanda and Somalia have banned plastic bags altogether. Shopping still needs to be carried away though and calls for something sturdy and durable, a factor which for a while saw woven baskets, and branded jute and cotton bags become very popular in the UK. I just love the rounded shape of the handcrafted Bolgatanga woven baskets from Ghana; they have a multitude of uses aside from shopping including doubling up as fruit baskets if you have a smaller size, carrying some of the washing if you have larger ones, storing toys, or taking to the beach.
[Image credits: Bolgatanga Baskets via Baskets of Africa]
Lightweight and usually available in a vibrant array of colours, the baskets take their name from the Bolgatanga region in Ghana and were originally created without handles, used as storage containers, before being adapted to carry items to and from the market. Bolgatanga is said to be the crafts centre of Northern Ghana with the largest producers of straw goods in the country. Bolgatanga baskets are made using elephant grass, a straw also known as ‘Veta Vera’ as well as palm and reed and can take up to three days to prepare. The Bolgatanga Basket Weavers Co-operative Club established in 1995, is one of the main producers in Ghana with nearly 1000 weavers most of whom are women. The baskets have become quite popular across the globe as practical yet stylish alternatives to plastic bags, so if not visiting Ghana in person you can always find several places to purchase them both on and offline.
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Prices vary: £17-£34/ USD$15-USD$42 / AUD$15-AUD$38
For further information about the Bolgatanga Basket Weavers Club visit: http://bbwcc.org
To purchase Bolgatanga baskets visit: