Gift bags for wine may not often carry a high price tag for consumers, but they tend to have a huge one for the planet. The associated cost of producing paper products can be high in terms of natural resources, water-born waste, atmospheric emissions and electrical energy consumption. That's why Joy Harding, Sarasota, FL, is giving the eco-minded consumer a perfect alternative with the Earth Balance Bag, Harding's line of tree-free “paper” bags. The proprietary bagstock uses paper made of limestone in Taiwan and combines inorganic mineral powder from pulverized limestone with a small amount of HDPE as a binder. Graphics range from the simple and monochromatic to festive, edgy patterns and messages, with many more designs in the works. All are offset-printed with vegetable-based inks. The sturdy bagstock alternative is both sustainable and chic. For every ton of tree-free “paper” produced, Harding says 20 trees are saved, 42 lb of water-born waste is eliminated, 236 lb of atmospheric emissions are eliminated, 16,000 gal of water are conserved and 36,000 BTU's of energy are saved. So far, the bags are available in wine stores in Texas, New York and Florida.