Reduce, reuse and DIY craft your plastic bags!
Plastic bags have been convenient and useful companions for all of our shopping sprees. Here are few facts that you probably didn’t know about how devastating plastic bags are for our environment, our world and ourselves:
- In China, 3 billion plastic bags are only used once every day.
- Plastic are made of petroleum, natural gas and other chemicals, even the production of the plastic bags is toxic to the environment. Petroleum is a known carcinogenic; it can cause cancer.
- Plastic starts to degrade only after 700 years and will fully degrade in 1000 years.
- Over 44% of all marine life (turtles, fish etc.) have ingested plastic bags and have died by suffocation or starvation from the plastic bags.
- According to Sydney Harbour’s research in 2014, nanoparticles have been found in the flesh of fish because of plastic ingestion. Plastic bags are making their way to our dinner table, potentially causing us cancer. If you don’t feel bothered by the harm plastic bags cause to the environment, maybe you will consider it next time you crave for sushi.
How, in your own way, could you help to minimise this harming towards environment? Other than not using plastic bags anymore or recycling them, you still can upcycle them as well. Get inspiration from our ideas below:
Let’s get started with an easy one. What about getting yourself pillows for staying cosy during any of your outdoor activities this summer?
What you need
Empty plastic bags
Step 1: Get an empty pillow case.
Step 2: Fill the pillow case with plastic bags until it’s full or as comfortable as you wish. Close the zipper of the case and your pillow is soft and ready!
What about a kite to occupy your little ones during sunny afternoons out at the park? Plastic does fly as well as paper. If you don’t believe me, give it a try and prove me wrong.
What you need
A large plastic shopping bag
3 to 4 Bamboo Skewer
Balloon stick or paper tube
SStep 1: Download and print the following Diamond Kite Template on a 11x17 paper: http://www.alannageorge.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/DiamondKiteTemplate.pdf
Step 2: Fold the bag in half and trace the template kite on it, making sure to keep the long edge of the template along the fold. Cut out the bag following the template.
Step 3: Take two bamboo skewers and trim off the pointed edges. Put them together, making sure they overlap each other. Use this as the vertical spine of the kite. Lay them on the kite and tape them together until you have the desired length.
Step 4: Repeat the same step for the horizontal spine of the kite.
Step 5: Take the balloon stick and cut out 2 pieces of 5cm each. Bend them slightly in the center without creasing them.
Step 6: Insert the horizontal spine into each end of the balloon stick.
Step 7: Lay the horizontal spine on the unprinted side of the kite. Lay the vertical spine on top of the horizontal spine so they overlap in the correct spot (use the kite as a reference), then tie the two sticks together.
Step 8: Use tape to attach both spine edges to the kite. Start taping from the front side of the kite, wrapping around to the back side.
Step 9: Cut 60cm of kite line and use the thumb tack to pierce a hole 1cm from the kite’s bottom tip, on each side of the spine. Tie one end to the top of the kite through the hole and around the overlapping spine. Tie the other end of the kite line through the bottom holes and around the spine.
Step 10: Use the remaining pieces of the plastic bag to make the kite tail. Cut 5cm wide strips and tie them together to create a tail.
Step 11: Attach the tail to the bottom of the kite by threading behind the skewer and wrapping it around the skewer.
Step 12: Tie the spool of string to the kite line by knotting them together so you will be able to slide the string up and down. Your kite is ready!
Plastic Bag Jump Rope
What about a jump rope for your little ones or even your fitness routine?
What you need
Plenty of plastic bags
Step 1: Take your plastic bags and cut each one open into one flat piece. Cut off the handles and any extra pieces in order to get a large rectangle.
Step 2: Cut each rectangle into long strips. The, tie the strips together until it’s a little longer than the desired length for the jump rope. Repeat the process to have 12 tied strips.
Step 3: Take 6 of the tied strips and taped them together with tape before taping the whole bunch of stripes to the back of a chair. Braid the six strips together into one very long one.
Step 4: Repeat the same process with 6 other tied strips.
Step 5: Take the two braids and twist them tightly together.
Step 6: Tape each end of the braided jump rope with duct tape to create the handle. And your jump rope is ready for a play-out!
Now you know what to do with all your unused plastic bags instead of letting them gather in the sea and collect dust in a corner of your home.
And… That’s it!
Photo Credits: Zero Waste Europe/ Muddy Boots Software/ Mama Ging /Alanna George /A Childhood List
Upcycling ideas from: