Knitting to help the environment

For some time now we, as a family, have been trying to do our bit to help the environment by recycling as much as possible and switching off appliances to save energy etc. However our efforts aren’t helped by the fact that so much of the produce you buy in the shops is pre-packed in so much plastic. I’m sure that most of our rubbish is food and product packaging that we can’t recycle.

Someone I know who lives in my village is a camerawoman and recently returned from Hawaii where she was filming a BBC documentary about the problem of rubbish washing up on the shores of the islands and the terrible effects it has on the place and the animals living there. When she came to our house one evening recently she told us how she was filming a bird on a beach who was dying because it had eaten some plastic and it reduced her to tears as she filmed. She told us of the huge amount of rubbish that just washes up on the beaches and the amount of plastic bags there were. As a result of her campaigning, my town has become the first place in the country to ban plastic bags. Read more about it here.

Many retailers claim that their plastic bags are bio-degradeable and it is even printed on the bags, but what the public doesn’t realise is that whilst the bags do indeed break down, they don’t actually “bio-degrade”. They just become tiny little balls of plastic instead, which get into the land or water and eaten by animals and fish, and then enters the food chain. The plastic never goes away, it just takes a different form.

Mum no longer uses plastic bags at the supermarket instead she uses canvas ones which she takes with her each trip. Tomorrow Sainbury’s is giving away “bags for life” which are made from 100% recycled material, are stronger and therefore can be used time and time again. And now the Daily Mail newspaper is encouraging its readers to “wage a war” against the supermarkets and the amount of packaging that is used to wrap up food and the excessive use of plastic carrier bags.

I’m not a plastic bagIt’s even becoming a fashion statement to not use plastic bags for shopping. The latest “must-have” bag is the designer “I’m not a plastic bag” cotton and rope bag by Anya Hindmarch, which was used at the goodie bag at this year’s Oscar’s and a limited number of which Sainbury’s is offering at £5. People were queuing up from the early hours to grab one. They are so popular that they’re going for over £200 on eBay!

Daily Mail knitted plastic bagBut what has all this got to do with knitting. Well the thing that prompted me this morning was that the Daily Mail had a article about knitting your own bags. (Read the article here). The article explains how to cut up your plastic carrier bags into long strips and then knit with them instead of yarn. (Photo from the Daily Mail website)

There’s also a competition to come up with your own knitted eco-bag, made with just plastic bags. I feel an urge to have a go!

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4 thoughts on “Knitting to help the environment

  1. They are talking about banning plastic bags here, they’ve already done it in San Francisco & a small town in Manitoba. I bought myself 5 extra large bags made with a combination of linen & recycled plastic so they’re really strong & I’m using them.

  2. There’s a campaign here to get all the shopkeepers in our village to stop using plastic carrier bags and offer customers an alternative be that paper bags or corn starch bags or linen/canvas bags. I didn’t know they’d done it San Fran.

  3. I remember seeing a website a while ago about how to knit a sleeping bag out of old carrier bags. I agree totally, un-recycleable packaging is probably the greatest waste in my household rubbish. I have several ‘bags for life’ from sainsburys that only cost £1, they are really strong and I use them to carry books and folders to work, as well as storing knitting projects and the weekly shop!

  4. Hello,
    I’m glad I wandered into this post, it’s very interesting. Myself and my family are always on about how much wrapping we can’t recycle.
    I really want to have a go at knitting a plastic bag! I always use the foldable canvas bags for shopping, carryign books etc. They’re so much better than plastic carrier bags!

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