Wednesday, July 04, 2007


In April I posted about New Zealand's "first wave" of liberation from the plastic bag. Since then you'll have heard that a bunch of supermarkets are ditching the bag.

A problem remains though - what happens your mountain of non-recyclable shopping bags. Step up who ripped an oldish idea from this great little blog. Make your own messenger bag!

Plans and instruction here (1,600kb pdf). All this stuff is out there on a Creative Commons license so use it well!

Hat tip: The Piton

Update: Click for the big picture. My ironed plastic.

The "degradable" plastic bags you get at many supermarkets might be a waste of time. I had a crack bottom right on pic. Patchy at best. Top right is a tortilla bag - full heat but no bonding and about as effective as the flour tortilla the bag used to contain.

The bread bag centre was folded 6-thick and ironed full heat. Not brilliant, but a followup 8-thick on mid heat looks good. It's a little small though. Unless you're into sewing, using bread bags for the final product will be tedious.

Big black bag is a standard record/clothes/shoe shopping bag folded 6-thick. Top end was full heat and a pretty good result - if anything a little too hot. Bottom end is half heat giving no bond.

Mid bottom is an 8-thick perforated supermarket fruit bag. Its crap and wont be used.

I'll be raiding friends cupboards over the next few weeks to get me some stock. This re-usable grocery bag lark has our cupboard a little thin...


Concerned citizen said...

I've got myself a canvas bag for groceries and have been happily using for some time, but I have a question.

I used to use plastic bags to line my kitchen tidy. What do you recommend using instead? (Or should I do as I've been doing and occasionally take a plastic bag home?)

Tom said...

"(Or should I do as I've been doing and occasionally take a plastic bag home?)"

That's what I'd do. Even if you use reusable bags for everything, it's still sometimes wise to have the meat wrapped in a plastic bag.

Even though we have a reusable bag, we don't always have it with us, and since a lot of our shopping is done off the cuff (we might be out for a walk and think "we might as well get the shopping now") rather than as planned weekly shops, we still end up having to use disposables more often than I'd like. I've often hoped that someone would design a shopping bag that folds up to about A4 size and makes a nice "man bag", rather than having to carry a large, sloppy shopping bag around all the time.

Baz said...

Likewise -- we've been using canvas bags for a year or two now, but our stash of plastic bags for the kitchen bin is far from exhausted.

They pop up almost as fast as we use them: people bearing wine and dessert bring them round, and sometimes people at work discard them so I give them a new home.

Once a majority of people are reusing bags that will all change and I'll be in the same position as Concerned Citizen, but that could be a few years off.

mikeymike said...

Yep, there's no doubt that bin liners are fewer and further between.

Although there's the odd bag shortage at ours, with a healthier attitude toward waste there's less going in the bin - so less need for bags.

But I did read somewhere that the companies who make and market plastic bin liners and the likes are laughing. Cant find the source sorry.

While hunting I found this though, a recent look at packaging waste and recycling per capita in Europe (albeit with 2005 data). The usual suspects do best, although along with the Fins, Greece produces very little packaging...

Bottom line for me is that every bag should have more than one use.