Assessment of eco-functional properties of shopping bags: Development of a novel eco-functional tester

S. S. Muthu, Y. Li, J. Y. Hu, Pik Yin Mok, Y. F. Mao, Q. H. Li, X. X. Wu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to discuss the development of a novel test instrument to quantify the eco-functional properties of various shopping bags. One of the main properties, which lies at the interface of both ecological and functional properties, is the reusability of shopping bags. Other properties at this juncture also include the impact strength and weight holding capacity of a shopping bag. Design/methodology/approach: The developed tester can be used to assess these three properties (reusability, impact strength and weight holding capacity) of any type of shopping bag. This study discusses the concept and development of an eco-functional tester for shopping bags. It also reports test results of the reusability, impact strength and weight holding capacity of different types of shopping bags. Reusability and impact strength are expressed by two variants: absolute maximum capability and comparative maximum capability. Findings: According to the test results, plastic bags outscore paper bags in the single use category and woven bags top the reusable bags category. Originality/value: To date, there is no scientific instrument reported in the literature that quantifies the reusability of different shopping bags. The value of reusability can be directly utilized for LCA calculations. Other functions derived from this instrument are equally important, since they decide the useful life time of shopping bag and they assist the LCA practitioner to decide the functional unit of the study. This unit is the base of any LCA study and upon it comparisons are made.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-225
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Clothing Science and Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2013


  • Absolute maximum capability
  • Comparative maximum capability
  • End-of-life
  • Impact resistance
  • Reusability
  • Shopping
  • Shopping bags
  • Weight (mass)
  • Weight holding capacity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Polymers and Plastics

Cite this