New York design agency PLACEHOLDER, is no stranger to obsessively exploring the once humble, now demonised plastic bag. Last year, it launched its Plastic Paper book, a beautiful representation of the banal, showing superb photography of various plastic bags collected by agency founder Sho Shibuya.
He was motivated not only by the graphics adorning the utilitarian, everyday shopping bags but also by the Japanese concepts of "eight million gods" or "yaoyorozu no kami," which recognises and respects gods within even the most everyday objects. "We cherish each thing, even a plastic bag," he's said. "To me, it's not garbage, it's something attractive that has character to it."
Now, in the realisation of the book's conclusion as a reminder despite their gorgeous designs, the era of the single-use plastic bag is well overdue."
In what seems like a smart realisation of Shibuya's statement, the Plastic Paper project has now extended into another product: the sustainable and renewable Biodegradable Bamboo Bag.
The launch ties in with New York State's ban on single-use plastic—hopefully turning around the fact the state gets through 23 billion plastic bags each year "with half ending up in landfills, where they never decompose," according to the studio.
The product aims to fill the loophole in the law that means food vendors can still use plastic bags. But using sustainable bamboo fibre instead of plastic, the design takes a single sheet of fibre to "cradle your lunch without any wasted space or material – in fact, over 75% less material than a standard paper bag) – and it's safe to compost or dispose of when you're done," Plastic Paper's founders explain.
"Our mission is to reduce our daily dependence on single-use plastics through design, which is why we're so excited to release this innovative successor to the toxic bags of the past."
Plastic Paper is a non-profit project with its proceeds donated to Parley, "the space where creators, thinkers, and leaders come together to raise awareness for the beauty and fragility of our oceans and collaborate on projects that can end their destruction."
The team is currently on the hunt for a launch partner.