I Made this Practical & Affordable Reusable Shopping Bag

The geometric design on this dark blue t-shirt captured my attention on my opshop travels. It was the perfect t-shirt for making a practical & affordable reusable shopping bag together with reducing textile waste.

Old or cheap t-shirts can be comfy, but they can easily look scrappy and lose their shape. It’s so easy to toss them in the bin or donate them, which contributes to Australia’s rising textile waste. In 2009/2010, the Australian Bureau of Statistics paper reported that a staggering 88% of leather and textiles ended up in landfill. By 2020, the National Waste Report highlighted that 93% of all textiles go to waste.

Our textile consumption and waste is worsening.

There’s a need for us to reduce our textile waste initially, but if it’s already been produced, we need to look at alternative uses. That’s where upcycling is beaut way to think differently! 

I Made this Practical & Affordable Reusable Shopping Bag

I’d heard about making t-shirt bags, but it wasn’t until I met up with Upcycle Newcastle – at Lake Macquarie City Council’s Living Smart Festival – who showed me how to make this versatile shopping bag from a t-shirt.

Such a winner when I discovered that no sewing skills nor sewing machine were required! With only a t-shirt, material scissors and a bodkin (love the sound of this name), I was guided by Upcycle Newcastle’s expertise. The bag making is now something I love to share and teach in my sustainable living workshops.

This simple upcycling mini-project is a super example of how we can reuse something we no longer need to transform it from its original intention and make something new. 

Shop assistants are frequently surprised at how much my bag holds and how easy it is to pack. I love the bag’s durability and travelability. It’s my just-in-case-I-need-to-carry-something bag.

Now that you know what to do with old t-shirts, let’s rethink our everyday to avoid and reduce the amount of textile waste going to landfill and use this waste as a purposeful resource.

This article was inspired by the Fat Mum Slim Photo a Day Prompt “I Made This” (August 2020).

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Related External Links…

  • Upcycle Newcastle is a community group focused on saving waste from landfill through creative re-use and repair
  • Discover your closest Mens Shed for helping you upcycle and create things from timber

The following links are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may receive a commission if you choose to make a purchase from these Australian-based businesses.

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