Zero Waste Produce and Bulk Bin Shopping Bags
Zero Waste Shopping Bags for Produce and Bulk Bins eliminate single-use plastic bags. This easy to follow tutorial will show you how to create adorable and useful produce and bulk bin shopping bags.
I recently had a reader “slide into my DMs” on Instagram with an interesting proposal. Could I stock some muslin drawstring bags for her in my Etsy shop for her to use for zero waste shopping? Hmm, it was a good question. I had never made drawstring bags before, and my production turnaround time was going to be a few weeks due to my upcoming site redesign.
We ultimately decided that was too long of a wait for her needs. We also bonded over our mutual lack of patience for most things. Turns out there is another person in this world who will yell at the microwave to hurry up. But I still appreciated her request and told her it would likely inspire a future blog post.
And here we are.
I used this helpful tutorial for creating these bags. Given that it is highly likely they will be washed after a few uses, I took an extra step and added a double seam to the bag to prevent fraying. I hulked up my bulk bags.
Helpful Zero Waste Shopping Bags for Produce and Bulk Bins Supply List
- Fabric (a given). Use whatever lightweight fabric you have hanging around. Any cotton or muslin would be great. Repurposed old cotton shirts would awesome! Don’t use anything that was used for cleaning or came into contact with chemicals. Also, don’t use old underwear. Because standards.
- Ribbon or small cord (like shoelaces)
- Sewing machine
- Safety pin or Bodkin <—such a fun word to say. Boooooodkin. Just say it and try not to smile. I dare you.
Let’s make some Zero Waste Shopping Bags for Produce and Bulk Bins!
- Wash and dry your fabric prior to cutting. I cut mine 16×12.
- Cut your fabric and press it with a hot iron.
- Put the fabric face down on an ironing board. Fold a half-inch seam and then fold it over again. Press with the iron. I find it is easier to get a sharp fold if you spritz the seam area with some water.
- Sew along the bottom of the seam.
- Fold the top of the fabric, allowing for a 1-inch seam. Press.
- Sew along the bottom edge to create another seam. This will make a little tunnel in the top.
- Fold the fabric in half with the right sides together and your tunnel seam at the top.
- Starting at the last seam you made, sew along the edges creating a pocket. Don’t start sewing at the very top. The scissors below point to where the seam along the side should start.
- Snip the bottom corners off, being careful to not cut into the seam. Invert the bag.
- Put the ribbon or cord on a safety pin or Bodkin and work it through the opening until it comes around the other side. Tie double knots at each end of the ribbon.
Boom. You’re done!
If you are planning to use these bags for produce, make sure you leave them untied at checkout so that the hardworking cashiers don’t have to open each one to see what is inside. If using for bulk bin items, you can still attach one of the write-on twist ties with the product code onto the cords. Or note them on a scratch of paper if you’re that organized. I’m not.
If possible, weigh your empty bags after you make them to find out the tare (empty packaging) weight. If you remember to tell the cashier the pre-filled weight, they can discount that amount from your order. For reference, I weighed my bags and they were each 1.40 ounces.
At home, we use plastic garbage bags in the bathroom garbages and I usually just dump the contents into the kitchen garbage before taking it out.
“Wow, neat story Sarah,” you say. Stay with me. This is going somewhere.
I realized the other week that we were completely out of bathroom garbage bags. So when I went grocery shopping, I purposely left my cloth bags in the car and asked for plastic. It took TEN plastic bags to haul the same amount of groceries that would fit in two to three of my cloth bags. I could not freaking believe it.
So what I am saying is ditch the plastic whenever you can. Not only does it reduce the clutter in your house and save resources, but it involves fewer trips between the car and the kitchen when unloading groceries. Saving time, money, and resources is just plain fun.
But not as fun as saying Bodkin.
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