The Worcestershire-based firm is celebrating its 15th anniversary by confirming its position as the world’s biggest supplier of jute bags, selling more than 65 million bags since the company was formed in 2002.
The firm, which has more than 80% of the UK market, was formed by father and son team Barrie and Sam Turner after they spotted a gap in the market for reusable bags to minimise plastic bag usage.
Barrie spent time in India researching jute fabric and its production process, enabling them to supply sustainable, high-quality bags made of a strong, ethically produced alternative to plastic.
What began as a small business in the back room of Barrie’s house in Worcestershire developed into the world’s leading eco-friendly bag company, with customers including Tesco, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, National Trust and the Royal British Legion.
Its production now includes Juco, an increasingly popular finer weave option which is made up of a blend of 75% jute and 25% cotton.
Shoppers using environmentally friendly, reusable jute bags have helped reduced demand for plastic bags by more than six billion since the introduction of the tax on single-use plastic carriers in England in 2015.
The company’s jute bag production rose from 5.5million bags per year before the English plastic bag tax was introduced to 8.5million the following year. The firm has produced an average of 7 million a year since then.
It operates to the Jutexpo Standard, a set of the 10 key elements it considers to be the minimum when it comes to ethical and technical standards, awards and credentials.
Sam Turner, compliance director of Jutexpo, based in Broadway, said: “We are delighted to be celebrating our 15th anniversary and are extremely proud of our track record of supplying more than 65 million ethically produced and environmentally friendly bags, which are helping to reduce the world’s reliance on plastic.
“A jute bag replaces the need for as many as 624 disposable plastic bags over its four-year lifespan.
“The UK market has seen the supply of around 19.37million jute bags in the last two years. That means that this fully sustainable alternative has reduced demand for single-use plastic bags by 6.04billion, with all the environmental benefits which go with that.
“But that is only part of the story. We are committed to best practice and high standards for our staff and the production of our Jute bags
“Our ethical production is fundamental to the integrity of our bags and we are proud to be leading the market with our standards.”
The new 5p charge for single-use plastic bags was introduced in England on October 5th, 2015 to help reduce litter and protect wildlife. Similar bag taxes were introduced in Scotland in 2014, Northern Ireland in 2013 and Wales in 2011.
Jute is fully sustainable and it is estimated that there is enough jute to provide everybody in the world with two bags per year.
Traditionally farmed within a crop rotation method mainly in the Bengal area (India and Bangladesh), it is grown in similar conditions to organic farming. No pesticides or fertilisers are used in the growing process and nothing is genetically modified.
Jute is a strong, natural fibre, the second most important vegetable fibre in the world after cotton not only for cultivation but also for versatility.
The outer is used for firewood, and the leaves are used for food. The fibres extracted from within the stalk are used to make bags.
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