I want to say about six months or so back I had come cross the concept of recycling the endless supply of grocery bags into a material now commonly known as “Plarn” (Plastic yarn). Many of us already probably reuse these bags for storage (permanent or temporary) or we supplement our use of garbage bags with these bags (as my Mom used to do). The problem with this is that the bags STILL end up in landfills and eventually in our oceans.
Recently I had seen a TED talk video featuring 21 year old Boyan Slat. The Ocean Cleanup Foundation was initially created and talked about at various talks about four years ago and they are just now launching cleanup efforts to try to eliminate the FIVE plastic islands in the middle of each ocean.
So that’s great, right? Someone has developed and will be implementing a solution to a problem that is obviously contributing to the harm of our planet AND will fund itself three times over while only taking a fraction of the time for traditional cleanup. This is very promising, right? So my question is, what about the rest of us? We don’t think about the impact we all create individually. We want a bottle of water, we buy it. We want fast food, we buy it. The problem is the plastic straws, bottles, lids, cups, and packaging we all end up purchasing contributes to this ever growing and perpetual problem. I admit that I’ve been pretty lazy myself but I have decided I personally, as an individual, need to start making a change of my own. It isn’t a large change because these things don’t happen overnight. Behaviors do not happen overnight but if as individuals we do our part…as little or as much as we can to minimize our disposable culture, alongside these efforts then we can finally begin to reverse what damage we have created.
This isn’t me telling you to stop eating meat because cow farts contribute to CO2 greenhouse gasses (although factory farming not only ensures animals to live a life of horror but improper disposal of animal feces as well as living conditions of animals as well as workers does contribute the environmental as well as personal issues) or that we are cutting down too many trees (controlled burns and logging helps forests to thrive while preventing large scale destructive forest fires) by using paper bags. I am a huge advocate of the use of hemp to replace the logging industry among other industries.
So why am I writing about this subject on an art and design blog? Well, I have always been an advocate of recycling and reusing items until they are unusable. I buy nearly everything from the thrift store or make it myself. People come to me to ask me if I can use something before they dump it because of what I do. I almost never buy clothing retail and if I do buy things like appliances, I will spend a little extra to ensure that it will last. We simply cannot sustain this disposable mentality forever.
That in point, I decided that instead of just reusing my plastic grocery bags as trash bags, that I started making reusable totes made from 100% recycled material; T shirt material and strips of plarn.
So as you can see the steps are a little involved when initially creating the plarn (and I just noticed that my dog was “helping” while I wound the strips into a ball”) but once this process is complete it’s pretty easy crochet into sturdy shoulder tote. I reinforced the edging and straps by crocheting the t shirt yarn around and into straps. I’ve carried a number of books in this tote and it is remarkably strong. Not bad for reused trash 😀
I have yet to decide to offer the finished bags as a product for sale. For now, here is the finished result. Please comment below if you think this is something you would be interested in purchasing from me. I am thinking that all first time donations through Patreon will receive a bag after a $1 donation. Let me know!