Your shopping bag

Gorgeous & practical

We ordered 5,000 bags. We gave them all away, free of charge. If you have one, this page is for you. If you haven't, other bags are available. You have them already.

The Followthethings shopping bag!

Our reusable bags are the same size and shape, and are made from the same sturdy plastic material, as others you may already have at home. But they are also sophisticated 'shopping' and surveillance devices.

Made by people working in a bag factory somewhere

Shopping bags like this rarely have a ‘Made in...’ label. But you can find out where they are made by searching a business-to-business site like for ‘pp woven’ shopping bags [look!]. That’s what we did. We found where other supermarkets’ bags were made, contacted a factory that made them and - after checking audits of its workers' pay and conditions - ordered 5,000 to the same specification but with our ladybird design. We can't say exactly who made our bags, but click on the map icons to find who makes bags very much like them.

View Where are reusable shopping bags made? in a larger map

Your 'shopping' device

...starts to work when you put it with other shopping bags. Take it shopping. Empty it when you get home. Research its contents. Take a photo. Join our Flickr group [here]. And upload and locate it on the map. Your 'ftt bagful' photo and research could end up like this:

Join our followthethings Flickr group

e.g. 'Exeter, UK: 12 November 2011'.

Click it to see the critiques of school uniform supply chains, a 'Dragon's Den' TV show failure, and venture capitalists winding up pension funds found in this bag of ftt 'shopping'. What could be in your bag? This is 'another kind of shopping' [look!].

Your surveillance device the ladybird. Each bag has 12. They understand world trade. They’ve seen it all. You can help them to escape to bug the trade in other goods. Below is an example. Click it to see more. Cut a ladybird from your bag. Patch the hole [‘how to’ here]. Take her ‘shopping’. Put her somewhere. Take a photo. Write 'her' thoughts in a caption. Join our Flickr group [here]. Upload your photo, locate it on the map, and add your caption. Join our set!

The ftt ladybird is curious about the 'blood diamond' trade.

e.g. 'The ftt ladybird is curious about the 'blood diamond' trade':

After reading about Charles Taylor's conviction for war crimes in Sierra Leone, she visits a jewellery store & wonders who else might be responsible.

Your bag's moving life story

... was followed from China to the UK using a ship tracking app in the summer of 2011. We tweeted this as a 'live', unfolding 'follow the thing' story. When the bags arrived at our HQ in the UK, we started to distribute them, so their travels could continue. Read your bag's sensational biography here.

Other bags are available

... and can, of course, become shopping and surveillance devices. It's not only ladbirds who know everything about world trade. Help bees, mosquitos, elephants and other witnesses to escape and follow their travels.

You can find out where your shopping bags were made and get in touch with the companies making them by searching here.

You can watch the moving life story of a disposable shopping bag here.

And you can see what happened after a New York shopper found a letter in a shopping bag from a factory worker who had made it. It starts 'HELP! HELP! HELP! ...' here.