Sunday, August 2, 2009

Green with envy: Re-usable grocery & produce bags

Even though this was a sewing project I wanted this one to have it's own post. This project can actually make an environmental difference and thought it needed special attention. I made a re-usable grocery bag plus a drawstring bag for produce. I really liked the re-usable produce bag idea. Seriously .... why do people put bananas and avocados in plastic bags? They have their own protection built into them! Anyway, this allows you to put all your produce in one place and eliminates the need for nectarines, celery apples and other "bag able" foods to be put in separate, wasteful plastic bags.

This was super easy to make. The pattern only called for one layer of fabric, but I doubled it to make it more sturdy and I could easily use it as a tote if I needed one in a pinch. I made the inside lining and the produce bag out of the same material so it can be a matched set. Who doesn't need to be a little fancy at the grocery store, right?

I go to the store every couple of days so I figured that one large bag would suffice. It cost me about $18 to make the set which I thought was expensive considering the canvas ones they sell at the store cost $1, but I REALLY wanted to use this particular fabric and I have plenty left over should I want to make 2-3 more bags. I know I should have re-fashioned something to make these bags to be really green, but I think you do the best you can.

Here is some information from the "Believe it or not" website on statistics on plastic bags and their environmental impact:

"Once brought into existence to tote your purchases, they'll accumulate and persist on our planet for up to 1,000 years.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually.

An estimated 12 million barrels of oil is required to make that many plastic bags.

Plastic bags cause over 100,000 sea turtle and other marine animal deaths every year when animals mistake them for food.

The average family accumulates 60 plastic bags in only four trips to the grocery store.

Plastics are forever! Plastics do NOT biodegrade. Rather, they photodegrade. A process, where sunlight breaks down plastic into smaller and smaller pieces.

Worldwide, an estimated 4 billion plastic bags end up as litter each year. Tied end to end that’s enough to circle the earth 63 times.

Each high quality reusable bag you use has the potential to eliminate an average of 1,000 plastic bags over its lifetime. The bag will pay for itself if your grocery store offers a $.05 or $.10 credit per bag for bringing your own bags. "

This website also has re-usable grocery bags for purchase.

For my environmental contribution I would be happy to make you your own set of re-usable grocery and produce bags for free. They come in 3 sizes depending on your needs. If you provide the material I will assemble them. If you want to make your own, Joanne fabrics (and I'm sure any fabric store would carry a pattern) sells "market bag" patterns for about $6.


Kate said...

aren't you so so so cute! That fabric is fabulous and your assembly of them is marvelous. I've never seen anyone with a drawstring one for produce, what a great idea. you are awesome!!!

yo nance said...

There are grocery bags, and then there are GROCERY BAGS! I don't blame you for splurging on the's a great design. Who wouldn't love to get some of these bags as gifts...hint, hint. My birthday is coming up.

big red 26 said...

Love it, we have a bunch of those but we forget to bring them in and then end up putting the plastic bags into the bags once we get to the car...I know wrong way of doing it. Thanks for the stats I'll try and be more careful GO GREEN!