As we try to make our lives ‘greener’, one way in which many of us have been able to make the change is by cutting down our consumption of plastic carrier bags. I try to always travel with an eco bag so that I can avoid having to buy a carrier bag. Lately the bag I a have been carrying is from the Secret Pillow project.
The Secret Pillow Project has helped to empower women in India, giving them a sense of financial independence and entrepreneurial spirit. The idea behind it is that the women create and stitch the ‘secret shopper’ a small pillow shape that is actually a foldable eco shopping bag that folds down so you can take it anywhere. Fritha Vincent, the brains behind Secret Pillow Project has trained 4 of the maker groups in India how t to make the bags which can be sold locally as India is another country that has recently banned plastic bags , and so marketing the products as a truly ethical, helping women to make a living to help support themselves and their families. For every 100 bags sold, another maker group can be trained to make the bags.
The bags themselves are just lovely, using 100% printed cotton with gorgeous prints including the elephant print I chose. The bags are easy to store in your handbag as they take up no room at all, and yet they fold out to dimensions that mean they can hold a decent amount of shopping (Dimensions: 60cm x 40cm) and the bag also has a strong, thick handle which is far more sensible than plastic or paper bags. The bag is also washable, which is another practical aspect that makes the bag attractive.
Each maker receives 200 rupees for stitching each Secret Shopping Bag, free training and structured and motivational feedback. The bags cost jut £6 and are a lovely, stylish choice as well as one that is truly making a difference.