Saving the World… One Bag at a Time

by Amy Daniels

I’ve decided that 2020 is the year to wage war on plastic shopping bags. Reusable shopping bags have been around for a very long time and are now widely available in all sorts of sizes, shapes, materials, and price points. 

Although I’ve had a growing collection of reusable bags quite some time, the collection only made it to my car for larger, planned shopping trips. That means that every time I stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few items in between planned trips, I always found myself without my reusable bags and would feel guilty about adding to the single-use plastic problem by using the bags at the store.

I could probably buy another bag at the store for anywhere between $1-$5 depending heavily on the store, but for a budget conscious gal like myself, that didn’t solve the problem.

Late last year I found myself completely captivated by reuse and upcycling projects to reduce waste. Pinterest is, as ever, the Holy Grail of project ideas. Instructions for DIY reusable market bags have presented a solution to not only my own bag problem but inspired me to look for opportunities to spread the use of eco-friendly bags.

I keep one bag in my purse, handy for unexpected stops at the grocery store, and a stockpile in my car should I need more. Even better, I’ve started sharing them with strangers. 

It only takes a few minutes to make a bag out of a shirt I didn’t spend any extra money on—I have no problem gifting one away when the person behind me in line only has a few items and doesn’t have a reusable bag with them.

Do I probably seem like a crazy person? Maybe. But I’ve found that by asking, “Did you bring your own bag?” and then offering, “Here—I have an extra you can have to save a plastic bag,” most people are happy to accept. I give a quick explanation of how I made it and encourage them to make a few more for their personal use.

My hope is that they will not only make a few more, but will give one to a stranger in a grocery store, explain how to make one, and encourage someone else to change one small aspect of their life to better our planet.

Make this simple, reusable bag with t-shirts of all sizes! Kids’ shirts sizes 3T and up work great!

Other Notes:

There will be hole in the bottom of the bag when cinched, varying in size based on how tightly the fabric bunched–I have not experienced any problems with items falling through when loading bags at checkout.

Tie the shoulder/straps together to create a 1-handled bag.

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