South Africans are getting better at reusing and repurposing plastic bags. We think more consciously than we used to about buying, using and throwing them away.
But still our rivers, beaches and the sea are littered with the worst kind of decoration ~ plastic bags that are going to take forever to break down and which are going to harm the soil, our water and the creatures that live with us on the planet.
So here are a few ideas for what to do if you have a drawer stuffed full of these bags.
Reusable Sandwich Wraps
Wash a few bags and dry them. Cut off the handles. Fuse several layers of bag plastic together by ironing them between layers of parchment paper. Do not allow the iron to touch the plastic as it will melt and stick to the iron. Then, sew or glue your plastic sheet to a piece of cloth ~ the plastic side will form the liner of the wrapper. Attach some Velcro to form a pouch.
Pick Up After Your Dog
Take a bag with you when you take your dog for a walk. When he does his business, put your hand in the bag, pick up the poo and fold the plastic bag over it. Drop it in a rubbish bin or take it home to dispose of.
Clean Your Shower Head
Fill a bag with vinegar and use a rubber band to secure it around your shower head. Let it soak for an hour or so to allow the vinegar to dissolve mineral deposits and cut through soap scum.
Make a Gift Bow
Cut as many strips from the plastic bag as you can, strips should be about 1.5cm wide and the width of the bag. Firmly bind your bunch of strips in the middle with a wire kitchen tie or string. Trim your bunch so edges are even. Fluff and separate strips from one another and you have a gift decoration. Experiment with different colours and thickness of bags.
Plarn is plastic yarn. Lay bag flat and fold it in half lengthwise. Fold bag in half again. Cut off the handles and bottom. Cut folded bag into loops. Knot loops together to form a single strand. Do the same with more bags and join the strands. Roll them into a ball and crochet or knit as you would with yarn or wool. You can make place mats, bags or even sleeping mats for homeless people.
These are just a few ideas, with many more out there.
Here are some more: