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Recently, Venetia Berry, an artist in London, counted up the free cotton tote bags that she had accumulated in her closet. There were at least 25.
There were totes from the eco-fashion brand Reformation and totes from vintage stores, totes from Soho House, boutique countryside hotels and independent art shops. She had two totes from Cubitts, the millennial-friendly opticians, and even one from a garlic farm. “You get them without choosing,” Ms. Berry, 28, said.
Cotton bags have become a means for brands, retailers and supermarkets to telegraph a planet-friendly mind-set — or, at least, to show that the companies are aware of the overuse of plastic in packaging. (There was a brief lull in cotton tote use during the pandemic, when there were fears that reusable bags could harbor the virus, but they are now fully back in force.)
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