As Earth Day approaches (mark your calendars! April 22nd!), I've been thinking about ways to reduce and reuse the things I don't need in my life anymore. I'm pretty good about recycling what I can - cardboard, papers, and bottles go in the curbside recycling, and compost I take to the local natural foods store. Plastic bags go to grocery stores with those plastic bag bins up front, along with other random thinner plastics like cereal bags, plastic wrap, and bread bags. If you don't have access to a plastic bag recycling bin, you can reuse your plastic bags by fusing them together to create a waterproof, flexible fabric!
Why do they call it oil cloth? What is currently being sold in stores as oilcloth is actually made from cotton fabric covered with a petroleum-based coating. However, genuine oilcloth (the real thing grandma had on her kitchen table) is made from cotton, canvas, or linen fabric coated in linseed oil. The fabric can be dyed or printed before the linseed treatment, and the oil gives it a water-resistant surface. Genuine oilcloth (also known as oilskin) is biodegradable in a landfill. The "real" oilcloth sold in stores today is made from PVC or polyvinyl chloride, and as such does not break down in a landfill.
Here's how to make oilcloth, the old-fashioned way:
I'm a sucker for a farmer's market or swap meet, and I've become very aware of bringing my own bags since California passed a law requiring you to pay for plastic bags at grocery stores. To use the materials I already had, I found three super simple ways to make an upcycled market bag: use stuff I already have! This transforms standard items into something practical using minimal cuts and sewing.
At the beginning of every year, I feel the need to organize every backpack, satchel, and purse that is in my line of sight. (I do this throughout the year, but am ultra-motivated after the new year.) If you're in search of a new bag to organize everything from makeup to tools and everything in between, read on! Bonus: The style is strong with these.
Would you have ever guessed that's what was used to create this abstract piece of art? It's easy and a great way to use up all of those plastic bags that seem to breed under your kitchen sink when you aren't looking.
Years ago, I saw a technique on a television show in which a homeowner used ripped paper bags as a floor covering. I remember looking for examples on-line but couldn't find any, until now. Gwynne and Michael used such a technique to cover
Frugal and Thriving scoured the internets and found 45 of some of the best diy bag tutorials out there. Choose from big bags and little bags, grocery store bags and cosmetic bags and everything in between.
Once you've given your tea bag a dunk, you could head right to the compost bin. OR, you can give it a second chance with one these alternative options for steeped tea bags.
- Soothe Tired or Injured Eyes
- Flavor Your Meat
- Make “Less Sinful” Drinks
- Around-The-House Cleaner
- Remove Warts
Urban Threads actually turned plastic Target bags into a lamp. I still can't quite believe it even after reading the tute!
First they fuse the bags. To do that, you'll need the following:
- parchment paper
- a scissor
- an iron
- leftover plastic bags
Five Day Turbo Sewing Camp for teens just finished yesterday. I say Turbo because they learned how to use the machine in two hours and spent four days (two hours each) sewing, jamming the machines, designing and giggling. It was hard to keep them supplied with fabric. Even though it was too short to teach them the perfect sewing skills, they got the feel of the machines and discovered they could create some sweet stuff on the sewing...
So you've switched from paper or plastic and gone to reusable grocery bags. If you haven't yet done so, it's now time to ditch non-recyclable plastic produce bags for something a bit more earth-friendly too. A great alternative to them are the fabulous BYO Bags. They’re made of a lightweight nylon mesh that’s not only breathable, but durable, washable, quick drying and, of course, reusable. I found my set of 3–one small, one medium and one large...
Have a look at Altered Cloth's collection of patterns, instructions, and tutorials for making your own reusable bags.
Fellow Curblier bsgilf posted a question yesterday that was of concern to me a couple of months ago. It all started with IKEA charging for their shopping bags and San Francisco passing an ordinance requiring retailers to use eco-friendly bags. Always answering ‘paper’ when the paper/plastic question arose, I was looking for sturdy shopping bags of the same size as a quality paper grocery bag. In my search, I found ECOBAGS, which has a perpetual...
In an effort to reduce and reuse plastic bags, how about making a plastic bag keeper? Chances are you already have everything you need to make one for free. Or you can buy one at The Container Store for 4.99 plus 6.50 s & h. Your choice.
- A 2 quart plastic bottle (I used a Juicy Juice bottle, which worked particularly well.)
- Box cutter and/or scissors
- Durable tape
- Excess plastic bags