Reusable shopping bags are an exciting trend; they’re functional and they’re fun! With different styles and patterns, the options are endless if you’re interested in a DIY reusable grocery bag. The supplies it takes to make your own reusable bag are everyday items – you probably already have them stashed away in your self-storage unit. There’s no excuse… get started now making your own reusable bag.
Why Make Your Own Reusable Shopping Bag
Making your own reusable shopping bag is much less expensive than buying them from the store, and the quality is often better, too. You can choose the fabric that best represents your style, and you know it’ll last because you made it. Have extra supplies? Make extra bags! They make great teacher gifts, or you can give them out at Christmas or for birthdays.
People are also turning to reusable grocery bags because communities across the nation are starting to ban the use of plastic grocery bags due to their negative impact on the environment. According to California Senator Alex Padilla, “Single-use plastic bags not only litter our beaches, but also our mountains, our deserts, and our rivers, streams and lakes.” The Surfrider Foundation maintains a list of communities nationwide with plastic bag ordinances. It’s an idea that seems to be catching on, so you’ll be glad you have a stockpile of your own reusable shopping bags if the ban comes to your community.
How to Make Your Own Reusable Grocery Bag
The reusable bag you create should reflect your personality. If you love it, you’re more likely to use it! Tipnut provides access to more than 50 free patterns for a DIY shopping bag. They’re categorized by bags that require sewing, bags that are knitted and bags you can crochet. In an effort to cut down on waste, Skip to my Lou highlights 10 free reusable shopping bag patterns for you to choose from.
To be even more environmentally friendly, consider making your own reusable produce bag. “Over two years ago, I purchased reusable and washable canvas bags for packing all my purchases at the grocery store. This eliminated my consumption of plastic grocery bags,” writes Heidi Warren. “Unfortunately, I still had to bag fresh fruits and vegetables in the plastic bags provided in the produce section.” Her solution was to create her own produce bag, and she provided tips and instructions so other people can do the same.
How to Care for Your Reusable Bag
It’s convenient to store your reusable shopping bag in the trunk of your car, but it’s important to care for each bag before you store it. “A 2011 study from scientists at the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University found only 3 percent of shoppers with multi-use bags said they regularly washed them,” reports Barrett Newkirk on USAToday.com. “The same study found bacteria in 99 percent of bags tested; half carried coliform bacteria while 8 percent carried E. coli, an indicator of fecal contamination.” Bags stored in trunks of vehicles were a hot spot for these bacteria to multiply; however, hand or machine-washing the bags reduced the bacteria supply by more than 99.9 percent.
Make washing your reusable shopping bags part of your routine at least once a month. If you carry anything, like beef or chicken, that could potentially contaminate your bag, go ahead and wash it before you put it back in your car. In addition, try to avoid putting your reusable bags in the baby carrier on the grocery cart. According to the study’s co-author, Ryan Sinclair, “The baby carrier portion of the grocery cart is the most contaminated public surface you ever come in contact with.”
Making your own reusable grocery bag is a win-win scenario. It’s good for the environment, and it’s easy to make your own affordably using supplies you probably already have in your garage or self-storage unit. You also can take comfort in knowing that your bag is built to last. It won’t come apart at the seams within a few uses like the freebies you find; instead, with proper care, your reusable shopping bag will last for years to come.