I Made this Practical & Affordable Reusable Shopping Bag

Captured by the design on this t-shirt, I made this practical & affordable reusable shopping bag by upcycling a t-shirt from the op shop.

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.

Where there’s a will, there’s an upcycling way! 

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 Smart Living Festival who showed me how to make this versatile bag from a t-shirt.

Such a winner when I found out 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 for its original intention to 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 by using 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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