Hate single-use plastic bags? Re-use them, the right way!

Cheap plastic shopping bags: the bane of modern existence.

Apart from doggie doodie and cat pan scooping, I can’t find enough uses for these cheap plastic bags.  Half of them rip the first time they’re used (often during use), the rest simply take up space.

Much like their cousins, cheap plastic hangers, plastic bags breed when the lights go out. What you think is a noisy fridge is really the sound of bags giving birth.

I thought no good could ever come of cheap plastic bags until the day my friend Hayden sent me one of the most thoughtful and USEFUL gifts ever.

My brother-in-law swings his son in my super bag!

That big white sack above is made of the very plastic bags I so despise! Hayden crocheted it in her spare time – completely unbeknownst to me – and mailed it as a token of our friendship. It’s truly one of the nicest gifts I’ve ever received. A testament to the power of creativity & proof positive that even the lowliest objects have redeeming value when reused wisely.

It’s been over a year since Hayden sent my magic bag and maaaany shopping trips later, it’s still in stellar shape.  Look at the craftsmanship!

It’s pretty amazing.  I hate cheap plastic bags for a multitude of reasons.  Yet, this bag – which is entirely composed of them – I absolutely adore. Not only is it waterproof, but it stretches and is super duper strong (see photo above).  Best part?  Hayden configured it so that the bottom holds a large cardboard cut-out.

Regardless of what I’m carrying, the bag stays sturdy and flat on the bottom, so the contents don’t get jumbled or squished. I can’t tell you how many times this has saved me!  All summer I used it to transport our weekly farmer’s market purchases.  My super bag held masses of leafy greens, delicate tomatoes, cukes, peppers, eggplant, cauliflowers, squash, fruit, you name it – and nothing ever got bruised. I take it with me when I stock up at Trader Joe’s and it holds countless boxes, cans and heavy jars. Everywhere I go I bring my bag, and everywhere I go someone inevitably asks about it. WOW! That bag is so cool! Did you make it? What’s it made of?  Is that plastic bags??!! and so on. I tell them all about my awesome friend Hayden and my awesome bag.

I’ve done this SO MANY TIMES, I finally decided to write a blog post to bring more attention to this wonderful re-use of plastic bags.

If you’d like to make your very own “Plastic Bag” bag, here are a few links:

DIY Network – Recycled-Plastic Carryall

Family Crafts – Grocery Bag Tote

Marlo’s Crochet Corner – Plastic Bag Tote

But… why stop there?  Plastic bags are cheap and abundant – and so versatile!!

Make your very own stylish Plastic Bag Raincoat!

Beautiful Artwork

and a Wicked Cool Dress!

Happy recycling, everyone!

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31 thoughts on “Hate single-use plastic bags? Re-use them, the right way!

  1. We need more people like you who cares for the environment and brings out creative, useful and fun ideas from stuff that most people take for granted. I’m not a fan too of single use plastics. Just hazardous to mother nature. The “super bag” is a winner in every way. It’s multi-use, eco-friendly features makes a must have bag. That rain coat with “Macy’s” on it is brilliant. Beautiful post as always…hope you like the “HUG” award. It’s meant for those that tries to make a difference in others everyday. Have a wonderful weekend.

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    1. Ha! Yeah I’m not a big one for advertising either. To wear a logo, I’d expect to get paid! But that raincoat is fabulous.

      Good luck w/ the knitting. I am hopeless w/ it still. My older daughter’s been taking classes. I’m praying she gets good enough to teach me!

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  2. This short film chronicles the short life (and long dragged out death) of the plastic bag, narrated by Werner Herzog. There is also a Jeremy Irons narrated mockumentary on the subject if you crave more…

    I love the startburst artwork. JCrew has some beautiful artwork hanging in their windows these days (the clothes are overpriced, goofy, for designed for sick stick people, and sewn by excruciatingly poor people – so I refuse to buy there) NONE THE LESS, the recycled magazine artwork in the windows is something I should go get a picture of and share… I (heart) recycled gems!

    Finally, I was actually opposed to Philadelphia’s ban on the use of them, fearing that that the unintended consequences would be a spike in the numbers of abandoned doggie poo piles and soiled baby diapers. (I just wasn’t sure that they were looking that far ahead) They are useful – to an extent. Still, I agree the world would be MUCH better without them.

    Lina

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    1. Don’t get me started on J.Crew, Lina. After the great torture otherwise known as Dress Quest 2010, I am through with them. Charging upwards of $20 to ship a dress that weighs paperclips?! No thanks.

      I love the woman’s recycled artwork above. It’s amazing.

      PS: thanks for the video clip. I saw Bag It! last year and loved it. Very powerful messages.

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    1. I remember when US stores started charging for bags. It may still be the norm in Philadelphia, but since moving to Maine I haven’t seen such a policy. I try to remember my reusable bags always. It helps to keep a stash in the car.

      Some municipalities here have banned these bags altogether. Ahhh, the day..

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  3. It looks spectacular, WOW. I thought it would be durable but you put that bag though its paces! LOVE this post. I don’t know about the raincoat but my friend, Ellica, has a purse made out of juice boxes. That sucker is sturdy.

    I guess I love the idea of the upcycled goods being sturdy and useful for the long haul. (Long HAUL! See what I did there??)

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    1. I thought leaving the cardboard stain-side-up really enhanced the overall aesthetic of the bag! LOL

      Seriously babe – it (and you) is (are) the BEST!

      Love love love my bag. I still remember opening the package like it was yesterday. You blew me away. Genius!

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      1. No store, but the best part is is that I am not a “crafter” and was able to make this! It was a great project for when I was waiting for people or standing in line, watching tv, etc.

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  4. I just started working on one of these bags today before I read your post. I made the “plarn” several weeks ago, but I needed my mama to come teach me how to crochet first! I’ve cut up 30 of the bags so far and I know I’m going to need more. I think this is a fun way to repurpose!

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  5. Thanks for the last commet. You always know what to say to bring out a smile and for some needed inspiration. Beautiful post that brings about a sense of awareness and encouragement to make a difference. Thank you.

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  6. I hate them too but never would’ve thought of such creative uses for them. The bag made from crocheted bags is awesome. Maybe I could make a…..
    Nah that’d never work. I was gunna say veggie garden scarecrow

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    1. Tony, maybe you could make a wooden “skeleton” then tie and shred the bags to it. The look & noise of the thing would likely scare the crap out of the crows.. At least for a while. They’re wicked smart after all. Can’t fool them for long.

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