noobags – reduce, reuse or redesign carrier bags

challenge Owners

Posted by Agim U on 09-07-2015 - Last updated on 03-11-2015

The EU Parliament agreed to reduce thin plastic bags in the EU by at least 80% by 2019. The stomachs of most birds in the North Sea area contain plastic. How do we avoid using millions of carrier bags, which are all environmentally unfriendly?

Bags made of paper, bags made of cloth, bags made of virgin or partly recycled PE and bags made of bioplastic have huge environmental impact. Each solution has its own disadvantage regarding the environment.

  • The production of a paper bag has the highest cumulative energy demand, due to material quantity and less re-use phases compared to plastic bags.
  • PE bags show the highest resource consumption. Resource consumption of bag production (processing) has the highest contribution.
  • The highest impact of Ozone depletion potentials are shown by bioplastics, this is caused by the manufacturing of Polylactic acid (PLA) beeing a pre-chain of most bioplastic bags.
  • Bags made of cloth need a lot of water and other resources in the production phase.

All existing solutions improve their environmental performance by extending the use phase. But not all bags are made to be used more than a couple of times.


100 billion in circulation

Out of the almost 100 billion plastic bags in circulation in the European Union, the vast majority are lightweight bags, which are less frequently re-used than the more sturdy thicker ones. The lighter, less-durable lightweight plastic bags often elude waste management and end up in the marine environment, where their eventual decay can take centuries.

Environmental disaster

An acceptance of the new directive would mean that European member states would be able to choose from a number of measures, including implementing charges on the bags, national reduction targets or outright bans.

According to EU figures, there are now some 250 billion plastic particles with a combined weight of 500 tonnes floating about in the Mediterranean Sea alone. These particles can suffocate sea creatures that ingest them accidentally or mistake them for food. Plastics break into tiny particles, and have a high potential for contaminating soil and waterways as they may contain additives such as persistent organic pollutants.


How can we change consumer behavior to avoid waste, landfill, resource and energy consumption, and pollution. Is there a service or product, which can eliminate all those negative environmental impacts? For the solutions to be successful, they have to be accepted by the majority of consumers in the EU.


Develop NOOBAGS: design a carrier bag, which is able to replace all other bags with a high environmental impact!

Develop NOOBAGS: a service solution that can significantly reduce the need of using those bags!

We do not have the necessary funds, so our plan is to go for innonative crowd-funding, when it is available. After a seccessful funding phase, we like to use the innonative marketplace to sell the solution that was developed with th help of the innonatives crowd. Our idea is that the team which developed the solution, could establish a company or organisation, where all members participate in the revenue.

Link to relevant websites, social media, blogs etc.


Are you interested in 51 ways to reduce plastic use? Here they are: smallhandsdesigns



  1. yasminmin yasminmin

    When does this challenge open?

  2. Agim U Agim U

    We are in negotiation with sponsors / supporters for this challenge and hope to open the noobags challenge soon. Keep you in touch.

    1. RahulNagpaul RahulNagpaul

      This is an offer for use of two (2) New & Novel Green Technologies (Intl.Patents examined) for Solid Waste re-utilization & Resource mobilization. We are a research led organization & our researchers/engineers have developed two (2) no's Environmentally Sound Technologies/ ESTs that are COLD Processes & recognized as WIPO Green Technologies ( to convert/ process 18 categories of Solid Waste (e-Waste/,MSW, C&D and Plastics wastes etc) into resilient 'raw materials' & resources for Manufacturing, Building & Construction activities (viz.Bricks, Pre-fab building blocks & Wood/Timber panels, beams & boards) in 24-36 hours at an economical price. Favorable "International Preliminary Report on Patentability/ IPRP" has been received recently from International Bureau/IB, WIPO (Geneva, Switzerland) for both ESTs and these have also been validated/ confirmed by IB,WIPO as: - Novel, - Inventive step and - Industrial applicability. The European Patent Office/ EPO (European Patent application nos. 13753694.2 & 13756928.1) report is as following: 1. PCT International Search Report/ISR – Satisfactory, 2. Written opinion – Positive (all claims passed except for two/2 grammatical errors only) 3. Amended Claims re-submitted. Benefits can be availed through Patent partnership or Licensing. Six (6) nos Prototypes/ Proof of Concept (PoC) have been prepared/tested successfully. We have recently completed Business consolidation (entry or registration) in 44 key countries for the e-waste/WEEE re-utilization technology & in 39 nos key countries for the Plastic & 16 other waste materials categories re-utilization technology).We have also completed entry into the National Phase with Europe (38 countries) for both ESTs with Canada & USA for e-waste/WEEE re-utilization technology. The Benefits can be availed by your good organization through process of Technology Transfer, Licensing etc. Pls contact the undersigned for further discussions & other details can be accessed on

  3. JanStehlik JanStehlik

    I use for several years one string bag, which is an old Czech invention from Vavrin Krcil. I don't shop so frequently, but because the string bag is so small and I carry it all the time in my pocket, I saved more than 30kg of plastic already. Currently a czech company manufactures string bags in a workshop that employs disabled people to give them a chance to integrate into society and earn some extra money. Or you can also make one yourself:

  4. Ursula A Ursula A

    Dear Jan, excellent proposal. I think these solutions are really good. Now the challenge would be to convince consumers to use these kind of long lasting bags instead of single use plastic bags. Do you think this challenge should focus on that? How we can encourage a different consumer behavior? thank you! and best regards, Ursula

    1. JanStehlik JanStehlik

      Dear Ursula, I think that the best way how to enocurage responsible consumer behavior is to make it cool and easy. For example in this case, it would be necessary to make this bag available to buy easily and most importantly to make sure, that the people take it everywhere. How coul dwe achieve that? Another problem is with pasltic bottles. So what about combinig a holder for reusable bottle with this bag? This way you would have fresh water and a comfortable way how to grab some stuff always with you. More useful thing is more likely to be carried all the time. A cool design would make it more a fashion accesory and after several years, people carrying disposable bottles or bags would look lame on the streets. What so you think of that?