Go green - keep a bag 'onya'

A GREEN-minded entrepreneur based in Suffolk has defied the economic slowdown to see his business expand and diversify over the past year.Dan Brousson from Halesworth has doubled sales of his innovative eco Onya Bags through his website and UK stockists, and has also secured distributors for the bags in the US, Canada and Japan.

A GREEN-minded entrepreneur based in Suffolk has defied the economic slowdown to see his business expand and diversify over the past year.

Dan Brousson from Halesworth has doubled sales of his innovative eco Onya Bags through his website and UK stockists, and has also secured distributors for the bags in the US, Canada and Japan.

With a passion for the environment, Dan set up his company Onya Innovations in 2005 to sell the eco bag which he designed with his brother. Made from parachute material, the bag folds down into a pouch the size of a clementine. It is easier to carry around than the average bag-for-life and to keep 'onya' for when needed.

Dan has continued to build the Onya brand over the past year, designing new variants of the popular bags and coming up with eco-friendly sandwich wraps, drink bottles and sustainable gift bags.

According to Dan, the battle against the plastic bag has advance considerably since he founded the business three and a half years ago.

“When I first started selling the Onya Bags a lot of people couldn't understand why anyone would pay �6 for a reusable bag,” he said.

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“That's changed dramatically now, particularly with some of the big high street brands such as Marks & Spencer changing their policies on free carrier bags. People are now willing to invest in a good quality, practical, reusable bag because they'll actually need it on a daily basis.”

He believes changing habits is the key, both for the environmental movement and the success of his business.

“Breaking any habit takes a bit of effort but it's definitely possible,” adds Dan.

“It's a combination of education, routine and having access to the right alternatives. I look at the way my children react to plastic bags. On the odd occasion that I've not been quick enough to refuse a plastic bag I've been given a good telling off. They've got no preconceived notions of convenience - they just understand they are bad for the environment.”