As New York Gets Set To Ban Plastic Bags, Agency Placeholder Debuts An Alternative

by Rudy Sanchez on 02/28/2020 | 3 Minute Read

On March 1st, New York will join Hawaii and California in enacting a statewide ban on single-use plastic shopping bags. A study conducted by the Empire State found that in NYC alone, every week, 1,700 tons of residential trash is composed of single-use, carryout bags. 

The new regulations around the bags, however, carve out some significant loopholes; sliced and prepared foods are exempt, and shops are allowed to distribute bags with a thickness of over ten mils. Those loopholes led agency Placeholder, founded by designer Sho Shibuya, to create an alternative that uses less material made from 100% biodegradable bamboo fibers.

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Shibuya’s design isn’t so much a bag as a pre-cut sheet that you put under the object, and then pull up by the handles. The cuts turn into a series of interconnected ribbons that hug the contents as you carry it. Shibuya based his design on similar types of bags found in Taiwan, but it sports the ubiquitous smiley face adorning a nearly incalculable number of single-use plastic bags across the Big Apple and around the globe. Better still, you can compost the bag once you’re done with it.

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Editorial photograph

Sho has always had a profound admiration for the design work he discovered on plastic bags throughout New York City, and he released his book Plastic Paper last year, which documents some of his favorites. 

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"My goal has always been to preserve the graphic design heritage of these bags and how they’ve contributed to the New York City design scene, which is why I’m so excited to create a sustainable successor that can continue the story without harming the planet,” he said in a press release. “I’m motivated by the idea that design can help solve these problems, and I’m optimistic about what we can accomplish together.”

Editorial photograph
Editorial photograph
Editorial photograph

“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,” said Placeholder in a press release.

Editorial photograph
Editorial photograph

Placeholder is currently looking for a launch partner but decided to make them available to the community, with all proceeds after cost getting donated to Parley for the Oceans, an organization devoted to raising awareness of the ocean garbage crisis.

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