California recently became the first state to pass a plastic bag ban. It goes into effect for grocery stores, pharmacies and other food retailers July 1, 2015. It should reduce that particular kind of litter, but it does have its problems. I’ve seen some comment that it will increase water waste, as reusable bags should be washed regularly for health reasons, but I don’t think that will be a significant issue – goes in with the rest of the laundry and unless you’re washing a lot of bags isn’t going to cause a new load to be done.
But I’m not a fan of most of the reusable bags you see for sale at stores. They’re often just a heavier plastic and don’t last all that well from what I hear. I think it’s much better to find ways to repurpose things you already have to make shopping bags. The cloth ones are my favorites, as they’re more washable, so you don’t have to worry about germs growing in your bags.
1. Quick Fix Grocery Bag Tutorial
This one uses an old t-shirt, scissors and a sewing machine. Very simple and light. You can skip the holes if you want, of course.
2. Vintage Pillowcase Grocery Tote Tutorial
Got old pillowcases hanging around? You can make them into grocery totes easily. Includes a PDF for you to download.
Finally something to do with a broken umbrella. This sounds really wonderful with kids in the house – umbrellas never seem to last that long with them.
Here’s a use for your old sweaters you just don’t wear anymore. Really not all that different from making a bag out of old t-shirts.
5. Recycled Denim Shopping Bag
Old denim is wonderful for shopping bags; it’s just so sturdy. These bags can hold your heavier groceries well and take a long time to wear out.
6. No-Sew T-Shirt Bag Tutorial
Got some old t-shirts around this house? They can make some pretty nice shopping bags and you don’t even have to sew them. This tutorial makes it really easy.
7. No-Sew Tote Bag From a Pillowcase
This one takes a pillowcase and a long strip of fabric to make a very simple bag.
Upcycled Plastic & Trash
This is a way to upcycle any old plastic shopping bags you have still hanging around. If you have a variety of colors, you can even make it look a little nicer. You aren’t getting away from plastic with this one, but at least you’re reusing it..
This project has you ironing plastic grocery bags together to make a stronger tote. Some sewing required as well.
10. DIY Chicken Feed Sack Tote
This should work with just about any heavy weight pet food sack, not just chicken feed bags. Take a look at the bags your pet food comes in and see if any could be made into a tote.
This tutorial has you sewing the bags together – others use hot glue. Either way, these are very easy to make.