Isle B. Stitching

Make this: #8 or I’ll do my part

Posted on: April 29, 2008

I’m not a rabid fanatic about any particular one of the latest causes in the news, but I do think I should do my part, however small or large that is, to keep the planet going for future generations. So I’ve decided to make my own bags to carry with me to the grocery store. As shoppers we receive over 10 billion plastic bags every year, and most of them end up in landfill sites where they take up to a 1,000 years to fully decompose.

Fabric bags, which you can make from old clothes, bedding or fabric scraps, are more durable than plastic and can be easily recycled when they become worn out. I’ve found the following sites that have patterns to make reusable grocery bags.

Brother UK has instructions for making a reusable fabric bag by recycling old clothes, sheets, etc. You do have to give your name and email before downloading the instructions.

Morsbags gives you instructions through a PDF, an animated presentation, or a Word document. Note on the front page the Morsbag tally, which shows how many less plastic bags are used each time the pattern is downloaded.

Wisdom of the Moon has detailed instructions to make fabric produce bags. Wendy says she’s used fabric grocery bags since last summer but still kept using the plastic produce bags. She made one out of an old sheer curtain, but you can use tulle or some other sheer fabric. Wendy also has directions for making fabric grocery bags out of old sheets. The cost of each bag is about $2 each. You can make these bags and add a pocket for the produce bags.

Creative Kismet shows how to use a pillow case to make a grocery bag. As an added bonus, check out her tutorial for the patchwork pin cushion. Cute!

Rags to Bags gives directions for turning old shirts, jeans and tablecloths into reusable bags. Here’s a photo of a recycled khaki work shirt made into a bag. A breast pocket on the shirt would be handy for coupons, change, etc. Rags to Bags says that many people donate their wearable clothes to the Salvation Army or Goodwill, but what happens to those garments that have defects or are too out of fashion? They fill up our landfills. And while making bags from used, recycled clothing may turn off some people, we should consider that when cast-off old clothes fill up our landfills, nobody wins.

I don’t want to come off as ‘preachy’, but here’s some additional food for thought. The Sierra Club says that:

  • Reusing a bag meant for just one use has a big impact. A sturdy, reusable bag needs to be used only eleven times to have a lower environmental impact than using eleven disposable plastic bags.
  • In New York City alone, one less grocery bag per person per year would reduce waste by 109 tons and save $11,000 in disposal costs.
  • Plastic bags carry 80% of the nation’s groceries, up from 5% in 1982.
  • When 1 ton of paper bags is reused or recycled, 3 cubic meters of landfill space is saved and 13 – 17 trees are spared!
  • In 1997, 955,000 tons of paper bags were used in the United States. When 1 ton of plastic bags is reused or recycled, the energy equivalent of 11 barrels of oil are saved.

I’ve done this earth design to put on some of my bags. I’ll post it so you can use it on the bags you make.

Until next time.

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1 Response to "Make this: #8 or I’ll do my part"

Great post! Thanks for doing your part.

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You can stitch these designs for personal use, to give as gifts, or to sell. You can add text, resize, or change colors. The design is not yours because you make changes. You cannot sell, share, give or trade any design. You can only sell the stitched design. The copyright of the design is mine. Please direct anyone interested in my designs to this site. Give credit to Isle B. Stitching. Thanks and enjoy!

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