A world of travel - it's in the bag

A GLOBETROTTER from Leeds University has racked up more than 15,000 miles in just 12 months.

Places visited during the epic journey range from Paris and Rome to Japan and US capital Washington.

But this is no jet-setting student – it's a 2 library bag.

The modest, biodegradable holdall has become a must-have fashion accessory since it was introduced last year in a bid to cut down on environmentally un-friendly plastic carriers.

To date, eager students have snapped up almost 10,000 of the bags, which change colour every season and have 'Sshhh ...!' written across them.

Such has been their popularity, a website has now been set up onto which students can download pictures of their bags placed at landmarks around the globe.

Katy Sidwell, a librarian at Leeds University who helped design the bag, says librarians thought the 'Sshhh...!' logo would go down well, as it was "a bit self-deprecating coming from a library!"

But she is surprised at just how popular the design has become. "People are buying the latest bag in red and black, and collecting last year's designs in brown and pink and in aquamarine and navy blue," she said.

"They are greener than plastic bags and easier to carry, because they have a comfortable handle," she said.

"They also last for ever. I've had mine for a year and I use it daily, for days out and shopping. It can carry many bottles, too."

The university's librarians hit upon the idea following worries about the environmental impact of handing out hundreds of plastic bags to students for them to carry their textbooks around.

The bags are made by a firm in Worcestershire, and the university does not make any profit from them.

Since their introduction, they have been snapped outside the White House, in Disneyland Paris, at a Shinto shrine in Tokyo and even next to the famous "Cheers" TV show logo in Boston. Other destinations have included Crete, Venice and Ohio.

Students have also set up a group on social networking site Facebook to discuss the bag's merits. One student says: "Every corner you turn in uni there's a Sshhh bag ... they're the only way to carry books or anything else for that matter ... and you just know your life isn't complete without one!"

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