Bags of Bags, and an Opportunity for Craft

Yesterday Hattie asked about my reusable bags routine. I have been bringing reusable bags to the store ever since I left home 22 years ago, so I have had a lot of practice! Here is my insulated blue bag, the one that I schlepp my Pyrex containers round in for filling at the butcher. He starts to sweat when he sees it come through the door. The green bags are general grocery shopping. Every time I empty them, I put them next to the front door, right next to my handbag, then the next time I leave the house I take them back out to the car. But that's not all...

Inside my handbag is my new breadbag, ready for my daily bread any time I walk past a bakery. There are also two fold-up bags which I use for everything, every day, whenever I go into a store, or to the library, or for the children to fill up with pine cones at the park..

These bags are from Envirosax, an Australian family company from Queensland. They are made from polyester, and the company will recycle them for you if you post them back at the end of their life. Mine have lasted two years now, and do note that they match all my clothes! If you are in Australia it is likely that you have seen these at the counter in houseware or giftshops. I bought mine locally.

I do think though, that if you are remotely handy at sewing, they would be easy to whip up. I think the genius is in the folding technique. Here, I'll show you:

Here is the bag unfolded. You can fit A LOT in these bags.
Detail of the wrap around snap lock, sewn into the bottom seam.

First, fold down the handles.

Then fold the bag in half across the handles (this is a valley-fold in origami, in case you were wondering)..

Then flip the whole thing over and fold into thirds.

Roll up the resulting tube towards the snap fastening at the bottom..

And snap shut.

There. All you crafty souls will be able to whip up a dozen in no time. Think how nice they would be in silk. Or buy some, and support a nice Australian company (they are made in China, but under fair trade terms).

The most important thing to remember though, is that as soon as you get them home, you have to EMPTY them, and put them BACK IN YOUR HANDBAG... and then you will never need to accept another plastic bag again.*

*Of course, this may be difficult to remember, so here is an alternative. Don't buy anything ;-)


Heather said…
In my new post, there is a plastic bag lurking in the corner of one of my pictures. I saw that and thought, "Oh, no. Jo is not going to like that!"

I used to use reusable bags at stores all the time, but laziness won out in the end and slowly I forgot about my dedication to using them. I am now going to start using them again, thanks to you bringing environmental awareness back to the forefront of my mind again.
Anonymous said…
I like the cut of your jib ma'am ;)
I've been using canvas bags for several years now. Often, if I forget them and have only bought a few items, I forgo a bag altogether. It's very easy to carry a few shirts to my car, after all.

Recently, I started ordering my groceries online and picking them up at the store. The only problem with this is that I can't use my bags--the stuff gets bagged before I get there. I always request paper, but still, I've been unhappy about it. I mentioned this to a friend yesterday and she said she would be happy to take some of my paper bags, because they use paper bags to throw away their dry trash. That made me happier. And then I realized if I tear up the paper bags, I can compost them. Yay!

Jo said…
Oh Heather, you can't believe I would be telling you off about a plastic bag! I should post photos of all the disposable plastic I have used this morning, beginning with taking the plastic wrapping off the newspaper, and continuing with buying my daughter a takeaway hot chocolate after a bitter early morning hockey game. For me, it's about a journey towards a life that I believe I need to live... a long, long journey!
Frances, it is so cool that you can get groceries in paper bags. I remember them from my childhood, and all the animal masks I used to make from them! Brilliant idea to compost. They would also be brilliant for sheet mulching under straw in the garden, to keep the weeds down.
Fran, I feel like I should maybe talk like a pirate right back at you... but can't think what to say!
Anonymous said…
+1 to the "long, long journey"! I'm thankful almost daily to live almost on top of an IGA supermarket. The shopping bag lives by the door (or in my buffet) with flip and tumble draw string veggie bags (which I seldom need as I usually buy only a meal's ingredients at one time) and the butcher ice cream container. I have no idea what would happen to this routine in a new home/with bf and, one day, kids! But it's an easy start now!
Jo said…
Sarah, that's a great routine. I like your European-style daily shopping habit. Unfortunately, my shopping routine requires a minivan... I am going to work on that, but currently, our waste-free options are quite limited on foot.
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