Isn't it great when you're standing in line and you notice that more people than not are carrying their own reusable bags? Unless you forgot yours... in which case, you just feel guilty. If you're still toting around those snoozeville bags that always seem to deteriorate or sustain puncture wounds in all the wrong places, this is your reusable bag intervention. You don’t need to be a sewing machine whiz to knock out a few of these babies. Plus, adding planet-friendly materials to the mix will make them all the more unique and sustainable.
Reusable grocery bag tutorials can be found in every conceivable corner of the internet but after hours of searching, oohing and aahing, you may be even more confused regarding what direction you want to go than when you first sat down at your computer. No worries – it’s a big, bad DIY world out there. First, settle on the pattern that you want. For casual and/or infrequent shoppers, a simple design is probably the best choice, whereas heavy duty shoppers who drag home four times their weight in fresh eats every single week may prefer opting for a roomier pattern with reinforced handles. Once you’ve honed in on your preferred design, deciding on the recycled material that you want to use is key – think fused plastic, empty dry pet food bags, woven rice bag 'fabric' or even old bird seed bags. Here are some inspired options that will infuse your future shopping excursions with one-of-a-kind eco-style!
For the funky-lovin’ DIYers among us, there is simply no reason why old men’s silk neckties – many of which can be scored for next to nothing at the corner Goodwill store – can’t be transformed into one-of-a-kind grocery totes. Taking the time to craft that kind of unforgettable arm candy will ensure that you never leave home without them again, so launch your Google search and prime the sewing machine!
Juice pouches may be tastebud-tantalizing to the little ones but they’re nonetheless practically impossible to recycle thanks to their aluminum-plastic polymer bonded construction – can you imagine trying to separate that at a processing facility? Fortunately, Terracycle continues to do a bang-up job of at least repurposing the juice pouch donations that eco-inspired people mail to them, but you can also take matters into your own hands. If your children sip juicy little beverages like they’re going out of style, consider transforming them into a veritable smorgasbord of greenie goodness including a reusable lunch bag, zippered pencil pouch, rain coat and of course, a sturdy bag for your groceries.
Oh… you think that the only thing old pillow covers come in handy for is as makeshift Halloween trick or treating sacks? Au contraire! They can be refashioned into matching little girl’s dresses as well as a summery frock for a decidedly more mature female, a shirred tank top, a pencil skirt and reusable totes in fetching patterns (especially if you ‘go vintage’) that will make you the envy of the eco-set.
Since the majority of today’s coffee beans are packaged for sale in entirely un-planet friendly Mylar and/or plastic pouches, it’s not like any of us happen to have spare burlap coffee sacks lying around, just begging to be repurposed. Burlap, however, is far more sustainable than its purportedly modern counterparts since it is crafted from totally biodegradable sisal or jute fibers which require minimal pesticides/fertilizers to cultivate. If the open weave and durable construction of burlap appeals to you, a vintage sack can be easily found online… and once you transform it into a roomy, reusable bag that you’ll be able to enjoy for years to come.
You have plenty of old t-shirts lying around, don’t you? Well this pattern is anything but standard since it features ventilation slits cut all over the fabric, bestowing jaunty style to your bag as well as longevity to your produce! Scissor-happy crafters will rejoice, while everyone else will just be grateful that these cool totes are easy enough for a first grader to pull off.
For more juicy green goodness, follow Elizah via Twitter @elizahleigh