The United States patent office has issued 6,785 patents this week with some of them, like this one from Apple, more interesting than others.

For tech fans, Apple patents are always subject to major scrutiny. However this week’s patent from the company isn’t related to a new technological device, but rather a shopping bag, according to patent number US 20160264304.

Apple Paper Shopping Bag
image source: uspto.gov

New design strengthens paper shopping bags

As part of its efforts to go green, Apple started using paper shopping bags earlier this year. The bags are a part of the Apple experience, offering customers the chance to parade around town with their new purchase. Whether this will get you envious looks or potentially unwelcome attention from thieves depends on many factors, but Apple puts a lot of thought into their design.

Such is the company’s commitment to innovation that even its shopping bags have some new features. The latest patent shows some of these innovations.

The Apple paper bag comes with a bag container made of white paper that has at least 60% recycled content. The paper is made of solid bleached sulfate (SBS).

Environmental impact reduced without affecting customers

In order to make up for the loss of strength and increased risk of tearing involved in the use of SBS paper, the bag has a reinforcement insert inside. It reaches across a fold of the bag container to increase strength.

The bag handle is also made of paper fibers. Paper handles are normally found to be stiff and inflexible, which gives the impression of an unfinished product. However Apple has made a handle which feels like a shoelace. This means it is softer and more flexible. The effect is due to the use of knitted paper fibers that are tightly knitted together in a pattern with a large diameter.

While many people might not see the significance of a new bag, the patent is instructive. It shows that Apple is committed to reducing the impact of its activities on the environment. However the company is also working to make sure that this won’t have a negative effect on its customers.

It is not clear when Apple will start using the new bags in its stores, but the move shows the company’s commitment to innovation.