Reusable Crochet Shopping Bags
In today’s society, we must strive hard to cut down on items that are temporary in use. Items such as plastic shopping bags. It’s estimated that globally, we use one trillion shopping bag. It’s not just grocery stores contribution to this but also department stores and take-out restaurants that use plastic.
According to Biological Diversity, here are some important Facts:
- The average family uses about 1500 shopping bags per year.
- Plastic bags are used for about 12 minutes. From store to car, car to home. Done.
- According to Waste Management, only 1% of the plastic bags are returned for recycling. The rest end up as landfill and wind can pick it up and blow it into rivers taking it to the ocean.
- 15 Bags production is the equivalent of 1 mile of gas that a car can drive.
While visiting a location in Mexico. We had 30 minutes to have free time to take a dip in the ocean. So inviting from the visual perspective. Getting in was warm. Within a few feet, you can feel things brushing up against you. I look in the water to see if it’s fish or what it is. Both Daniel and I kept feeling stuff hit us.
A clear plastic bag floated up high enough I could see it. I reached in and there is a bag. I reach further in, there are more bags, plastic cups and even what appears to be a bleach container. You realize the image of the pristine water is hiding the plastic within view. You are swimming amongst the garbage. Suddenly, the blue water isn’t so inviting and we quickly got out.
The poor marine life is swimming within our waste. While I would like to believe we aren’t intentionally tossing waste into the waterways, I could be naive.
In organizing the Crochet Cruises when we buy things. The plastic items are wrapped in plastic individually and then wrapped again in another plastic bag. Upon unwrapping the items, we end up with a garbage bag full of just plastic. Our local collection site does collect the plastic separately but where it goes from there is beyond my knowledge.
I’m also known for refusing to buy something when I feel the packaging is obsessive. I find this with smaller things like pens where the packaging is double or more the side of the item. It’s unnecessary and if I don’t buy it, I don’t support it. I vote with my dollars with silently protesting.
I turn down a bag most of the time. If buying clothes, I fold them up and carry them up as is. If there’s a cart, I put it back into the cart and take it to my car without bagging it first.
Each spring, I walk through our complete property. We have two creeks that meander through.
When the water really flows higher than usual, it can reveal trash that is left on the banks after the water goes down. I also think some of the garbage blows from garbage day and out of vehicles. The first year on this property, it was crazy how much trash and mostly plastic bags were stuck in grasses, bushes and trees. This year shown here wasn’t as bad. I think a skid must have fallen off a truck broke into pieces.
So I do my part. Our creeks lead to the Bay of Fundy. So picking it up now prevents it from getting to the bay. Sure, I’m just one person but imagine if everyone would do a small part.
Crochet Bags Ideas
For myself, I prefer not to have my grocery bags were the same bags for shopping for clothing and other oddball items. So if you are making your own bags, you could colour code them.
- Grocery Bags = Green
- Clothing Bags = Pastels
- Oddball Bags = Red
If you use Bernat Handicrafter Cotton or Lily Sugar’n Cream Cotton, you are purchasing American grown cotton. It’s 100% cotton. Cotton is known for not only being wearable but also being exceptionally strong with little give for stretching. The fibres will not wear down as quickly as acrylic or other blends of yarn.
Upon the first time use, the bag will stretch to its max but not continue to stretch. The cotton bags can be washed and dried without issue. It is a product that causes the least amount of allergy reactions, thus why it’s recommended for medical hats like hats for chemotherapy.
A crochet bag could take a maximum of 400 g / 14 oz ball of Bernat Handicrafter yarn. You can find this yarn for about $10+ in the stores. So a bag is about $10 to make from scratch. With proper usage, the bag will last you years versus taking plastic bags each time you are the store.
Using 1 bag for at least 15 times is a fuel savings cost of 1 Mile if you were to drive a car. Though, you aren’t saving that 1 mile, you are not creating the need to create more bags when you reuse bags. You are creating environment savings without directly knowing about it.
Example: Daniel and I use about 10 reusable shopping bags in a grocery visit. While about $100 is the cost to do this, we’ve not had replaced the bags for years. Over 4 years, it would have cost you $25 per year and save hundreds of bags.
We grocery shop once every three weeks. 17 trips to the grocery store in a year. 10 bags per visit. Over 4 years, we would have used 680 shopping bags. They charge about 10 cents per bag. We would have paid $68 in bag charges in bags we would have used for a few minutes each.
$100 reusable bags – $68 in bag charges = $32
- It would have only cost us $8 to make tall 10 bags that lasted 4 years. The savings speak for itself for money savings but also less impact on the environment.
- You would have saved enough fuel that is diverted to make bags that could drive a family 46 miles.
- You would have saved any of our 680 bags from going astray that potentially pollute the environment.
The trick to Selecting Bag Patterns
Select a pattern where the bag isn’t obsessively big. More stuff inside equals heavier weight. A jar of pickles, milk or pop can really weigh down a bag. For heavier items, you want more of a dense stitching pattern. In some cases, double stranding the pattern can really increase the strength.
While some market bags are best to be mesh-like, other bags should be gapless and dense.
Here are my 21 Choices Based on Categories
Yarn Project or Lunch Bags
Clothing Reusable Bags
Crochet Beach & Oversize Bags
- Crochet Nautical Bag
- Crochet American Patriotic Beach Bag
- Crochet Beachy Keen Bag
- Crochet Oversized Beach Bag
Farmer’s Market Bags
- Crochet Market Tote
- Crochet Mesh Market Bag
- Crochet Market Veggies Bag
- Crochet Double Strength Mesh Bag
Grocery Store Bags
Recycled from Plastic Bags
Recycled from existing plastic bags will give you exceptionally strong and long lasting bags. If you are not going to recycle bags, this is a great opportunity to extend its use.
- Recycled PLASTIC turned to Grocery Tote Bags – Needs 56 Bags
- Plastic Tote Pattern for Recycled Paper – Needs 90 Plastic Bags
- Crochet PLARN Bag – Needs 48 Plastic Bags
- Crochet Grocery Bag Purse – Needs 30 Plastic Bags