Hot buy

What's green, stylish and raises money for charity?
A Cath Kidston shopping bag

For a truly do-good option the new Tesco reusable shopping bags (right) designed by Cath Kidston (below) are pretty unbeatable. The first two beautiful bags have just arrived in store, and four more highly collectable designs will join them by Christmas. Each bag is made from nine recycled plastic bottles and can be reused over and over again.

These bags will not only help you do your bit for the environment but they will also raise money for a good cause because for every bag sold Tesco will donate 50p to Marie Curie Cancer Care. It is expected £250,000 will be raised in total. 'I didn't know bags could be made out of plastic bottles until Tesco told me,' says Cath who has generously donated her prints to this great scheme.

This Cath Kidston reusable bag is another way that Tesco is helping make it easier for customers to use fewer bags, if not give them up altogether. Every time you use this bag in store instead of getting a new carrier bag you'll be rewarded with Green Clubcard Points. Since the scheme was introduced in August 2006 over 1·5 billion bags have been saved.

Look out for these lovely bags which will be available at the checkout in larger Tesco stores.

The new Tesco reusable shopping bag

Tesco's reusable bag designed by
Cath Kidston
, £3·50
. For every bag sold 50p goes to Tesco Charity of the Year Marie Curie Cancer Care*

Plastic fantastic

Top British designer Cath Kidston talked to Helen Maher at Tesco magazine about this summer's greenest ever Tesco reusable bags made from recycled plastic bottles.

They could be the ultimate do-good bags, made from recycled plastic bottles – a material that can be recycled over and over – and designed by the legendary Cath Kidston, with every sale donating cash to Tesco Charity of the Year, Marie Curie Cancer Cure.

The first of this year's new Tesco reusable bags arrived in store this June, and four more highly collectable designs will have joined them by Christmas. 'But they're not so exclusive that they'll be hard to get hold of,' says Cath. 'My bags will be available at the checkout counter in larger Tesco stores. I didn't see the point of doing them unless we made a large quantity available to a lot of people.

'I really believe in us moving away from using plastic bags. I'm an average punter in terms of being green – I like the idea of an inexpensive bag I can buy on impulse in store at a good price which is genuinely recyclable.'

If it wasn't for Tesco, Cath wouldn't have known about Greenpac, the company that crushes and processes plastic bottles into yarn to make innovative clothing, upholstery and bags like hers. 'One of the joys of this job was the amazing back-up provided by a company of this size, I didn't know you could make a bag out of plastic bottles until the Tesco research team told me.

Our original prototypes could be rolled up really small but they weren't strong enough to do the job. The ones we chose will last and you can do a proper shop with them, really lug your groceries around, even bottles and cans.'

Today boasting six UK shops and an online store, Cath has built up her business from wallpaper and fabrics, branching into all sorts of things including wellies, garden kneelers, even tents. 'I try to do something new every year, this summer we're bringing out inflatable beach lilos and balls.'

As for the reusable bag designs, they're classic Cath Kidston, a mix of new floral prints and favourites such as her much-loved blue spot bag. 'People ask me, what will you do the year flowers go out of fashion? But they don't, you just move with the trends by changing the colours and scale.' And this year florals are hotter than ever.

Cath likens being green to old-fashioned living, 'A lot of it is about dealing responsibly with waste – I think I'm beginning to live a lot more like my parents did in the 1960s, using up food leftovers, not leaving all the lights on.'

And according to Cath many of us seem to be rediscovering good old-fashioned pastimes too, 'Thanks to the current economic climate and our environmental awareness, I think we're all getting into gentler routines, spending more time on things, from slow cooking to nostalgic hobbies. Last year our bestseller was a sewing basket in the shape of a house, plus our sewing and knitting kits and bags are selling more too. As we'll be nesting more, I bet hot-water bottle sales will rocket this winter.'

Apart from helping to lower your carbon footprint, another great reason to buy a Cath Kidston reusable bag is that 50p from each sale goes to Marie Curie. Says Cath, 'We have worked as a business with Marie Curie for 10 years. I had been approached by other companies to do a bag, but when I heard Marie Curie was Tesco Charity of the Year it all just came together.

'We are hoping to sell hundreds of thousands but we won't make any money – I have donated my prints. It's a win-win for the charity, as the bags will also raise awareness of their aims; the label says designed by Cath Kidston exclusively for Marie Curie. Tesco will not profit either and has guaranteed Marie Curie a quarter of a million pounds, even if the bags don't raise this amount.' Somehow we don't think this will be the case.

I didn't know bags could be made
out of plastic bottles until
Tesco told me

Cath Kidston

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