Tuesday, April 2, 2013

B is for Bags

Aren't bags convenient? Bags allow us to carry more, stay organized, contain loose or small items, and more. But are we using them responsibly? What could we change to be a little more eco-friendly?

Think about how many different ways we use bags each day:

  • Is your makeup in a bag?
  • Do you keep special jewelry in little jewelry sacks?
  • Did your groceries come home in bags?
  • Do you buy packaged products that come in bags?
  • When you buy bulk, like oats or rice, do you scoop it into a bag? Store it in a bag at home?
  • Do you store food in bags?
  • Do you carry a handbag or shoulder bag?
  • Is your gym bag packed and ready to go at a moment's notice?
  • If you are in school, do you carry a book bag?
  • When you pack your lunch, do you put it in a bag?
  • Do you use gift bags?
I'm sure you can think of more! They're everywhere! Did you know that in the U.S. alone, nearly 100 billion plastic bags are trashed every year, even though most are recyclable? If you choose paper bags whenever they are available, you will be surprised how much they will hold, resulting in your using fewer bags, but what about the trees used to produce them? Of course we could and should use our own re-usable shopping bags, but we don't always remember to take them with us. 

Re-use your plastic or paper bags! Use them to line trash cans, carry your lunch, sort recyclables, pack clothes and other used items for donation, store raw fruits and veggies, or line your garden or flower beds (with paper bags) to hold back weeds. See how many times you can re-use the same bag! 

Gifts that are difficult to wrap in paper, can usually be wrapped in fabric! Try a colorful bandana or other piece of fabric, knotting the four corners on top. Use a round piece of fabric and secure it on top with a ribbon or a strip of colorful fabric. This is actually a great way to upcyle clothing that has seen better days! Just cut it up for gift wrap! You can also use old tees to make shopping bags like the one at left. Get directions by clicking here!

When choosing backpacks, handbags, and other similar bags, materials matter! Many are made from petroleum-derived products and are not easily recycled. Choose bags made from recycled materials and then donate them when you are finished with them. Recycle them again if and when they become unusable. Organic cotton is always a great eco-friendly choice (and easily washable), but a Lily Bloom bag made from recycled plastic is too! 

What other ways do we use bags? What tips can you add for using bags more responsibly?


  1. Making bags has been on my to-do list for awhile. You've just inspired me to move it up the list!

    Amanda from homevenn.com

  2. Brilliant! I like your suggestion for old tees and I already use fabric for wrapping. I'm off to look at the link for the t-shirt upcycling now.

  3. I love bags! I do bring my own bags to the grocery store almost every time. I've also made some crochet bags as gifts.


  4. Laura,
    I love the idea to turn old t-shirts into bags!


  5. I try to use bags over again as often as possible. Thanks for all this info!

    (Stopping by from the A to Z Challenge)

  6. So many good ideas here! My husband calls me his "bag lady" because of my fascination with bags of all kinds.

    Sherrey at Healing by Writing