Tips to Reduce Plastic Use and DIY Reusable Bag Craft

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Check out these tips to reduce plastic use! Plastic is found in just about everything today. It’s in our furniture, our cars, and our computers. And, it’s used to package our food, medicine, and personal care products. It’s everywhere we look. 

Tips to Reduce Plastic Use & DIY Reusable Bag Craft

Tips to Reduce Plastic Use

Yes, you can recycle most plastics – sort of. Plastic is really downcycled rather than recycled. What that means is that if you recycle a plastic water bottle, you will not get enough plastic for another water bottle. It has to be recycled into a lower quality plastic item like lumber – and that is not recyclable.  Follow a few of these tips to reduce plastic use to help.

More than 8 million tons of plastic are tossed in our oceans every year. Learn more here.

Why should we reduce the use of plastic?

Did you know that of the 30 million tons of plastic waste that were created in the United States in 2004 only 7% was recycled? What happens to the rest of it? It ends up in landfills, in rivers, and in oceans. I’ve made it a goal to reduce my plastic use when I can which is why I’m sharing these tips to reduce plastic use with you today.

Healthy Breakfast Smoothie Recipe for a Balanced Breakfast

Now can I reduce plastic use?

Say no to straws. When you’re dining out, just tell the waitress you don’t need one. You can sip straight from the glass. You can also purchase glass straws if you truly can’t live without them. Or, you can buy paper straws. This is one of the easiest tips to reduce plastic use to do.

markers in a plastic container

Reducing plastic packaging

Reuse your containers. Don’t toss that container in the recycle bin or the garbage. Find another use for it. If you must purchase something that has plastic packaging, try to find another use for it in your home. So, can you store craft supplies in it? Could the kids use it as a mold in the sandbox? Can you put your wet swimsuit in it after you go swimming so it doesn’t get your beach bag soaked? Or, can you put your pens in it? Get creative to take advantage of these tips to reduce plastic use because some are easier than others.

plastic water bottles

Say no to bottled water

Bring your reusable water bottle with you when you go out. And, be sure to fill it up with water from home. If you forget your reusable bottle, choose paper cartons over plastic bottles. The recycled carton paper fibers are a valuable resource for making new products.

Tips to Reduce Plastic Use and DIY Reusable Bag Craft

What recycled cartons become depends on the area of the country and the mill itself. Some mills recycle cartons into tissues, while others use the paper fibers to make office paper. In some cases, they are even being used as a component material for wall board manufacturing. So, when you recycle, you put your cartons back in business as the items you use every day!

drinking from a water carton

There are many brands of bottled water that are available in cartons at your grocery store.  Or, you can find several on Amazon.

Ways to reduce the use of plastic bags

  • Bring a bag. When you go shopping, bring your own reusable grocery bag. If you only have one or two items, do you really need a bag for them?
  • Buy from bulk bins. When buying flours, sugar or nuts, bring your own container and buy from a bulk bin.
  • Skip the processed food aisle. Most processed foods come in too much packaging. Cook from scratch and eliminate the bag and tray.
  • Use cloth diapers.  So, did you know that the EPA estimates that 7.6 billion pounds of disposable diapers are discarded in the U.S. each year? Yikes!

Tips to Reduce Plastic Use & DIY Reusable Bag Craft

Of course, one of the best tips to reduce plastic use is to choose reusable bags when you shop. But, you probably use a variety of plastic bags in your home. I know that each time we make a sandwich to take with us, it goes into a plastic bag. And, you can really only wash and reuse those so often before they need to be tossed. But, you can easily make your own sandwich bags instead of using plastic bags.

Tips to Reduce Plastic Use and DIY Reusable Bag Craft

DIY Reusable Sandwich Bags

This is one of the tips to reduce plastic use that you can get crafty to accomplish. You only need very basic sewing skills to create this. So, you’ll want these supplies:

  • 1/2 yard of your main cotton or oilcloth fabric (Amazon)
  • 1/2 yard of your complimentary cotton or oilcloth fabric (Amazon)
  • 1 yard of waterproof fabric (if using cotton fabric) (Amazon)
  • Scissors
  • All-purpose thread
  • Wonder sewing clips (Amazon)
  • 1 package of sew-on hook and loop Velcro strips. (Amazon)
  • Sewing machine

Tips to Reduce Plastic Use & DIY Reusable Bag Craft

So, just follow the simple directions below to make your own DIY reusable sandwich bags and you’ll eliminate the need to buy plastic sandwich baggies. Then, you can check off one of these tips to reduce plastic use!

Or, you may want to learn more about making an upcycled t-shirt quilt. Check out what to do with an old chalkboard besides throwing it away.

Yield: 8

DIY Reusable Sandwich Bag Craft

DIY Reusable Sandwich Bag Craft

Using these reusable sandwich bags is one of my favorite tips to reduce plastic use.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Active Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Estimated Cost $15.00

Materials

  • 1/2 yard of your main cotton or oilcloth fabric (Amazon)
  • 1/2 yard of your complimentary cotton or oilcloth fabric (Amazon)
  • 1 yard of waterproof fabric (if using cotton fabric) (Amazon)
  • Scissors
  • All-purpose thread
  • Wonder sewing clips (Amazon)
  • 1 package of sew-on hook and loop Velcro strips. (Amazon)

Tools

  • sewing machine

Instructions

  1. Measure, mark and cut 1 piece of your main and 1 piece of your complimentary fabric 8 inches long by 8 inches wide OR 1 piece of fabric 16” long and 8” wide. Cut one piece of waterproof fabric 16” long and 8” wide. If you are using oilcloth, you don’t need the waterproof fabric. Skip that part of any of the steps that mention the waterproof fabric. step 2
  2. If using two pieces of fabric, with right sides facing each other, clip or pin along the bottom and sew with a 1/2” seam allowance. Iron your seams open.
  3. With the right side of your fabrics and the shiny side of your waterproof fabric facing each other, clip or pin all four sides and sew with a 1/2” seam allowance all the way around, but leaving a 3” opening to turn the fabric. Be sure to use your back sewing feature to lock each end of this gap. Turn fabric and close the opening.
  4. Measure two 6” pieces of the hook and loop Velcro. With a 1/4" allowance from the top of the bag and 1/2” allowance on each side, with a 1/2” seam allowance, attach the Velcro on each end of the bag.
  5. Step 11: Fold the fabric in half, with waterproof side together, so Velcro is pressed together. Sew with a 1/4” seam allowance along the sides and across the bottom, reinforcing from where the bottom of the Velcro starts to the top, so about 1”.


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