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Do you fear your bags will stage a Day of the Triffids-style attack? Show'em whose boss.
June 11, 2007 8:47 PM   Subscribe

Bag Ladies and Gentlemen.... Yes, you conscientiously refuse plastic shopping bags and use enviro bags as often as you can, but still the plastic bags manage to breed like roaches. How many plastic bags do you have stuffed in (naturally!) a large plastic bag somewhere in your home? And do you despair of ever using them up? Fear not! If you have more bags than home furnishings and décor items, you could make a chair, a few throw rugs, cushions, a chandelier, or a Christmas wreath. If you’d like a stylish yet waterproof wardrobe, you could make a cape, a raincoat, or a bra. It would be less utilitarian but equally cool to make your own menagerie: chickens, a zebra, more chickens, sea creatures, and still more chickens. [more inside]
posted by orange swan (35 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
[more inside]

Or perhaps you’ve got a mental block and can’t think of the bags as anything but bags, so you just make them into better bags. If you’re artistic, you could glue them onto a canvas and paint over them with oils. If you’re very artistic and enterprising, you could become an environmental artist like Nicole Johnson of Tasmania or John Dahlsen of Australia and sell your creations for thousands of dollars. Rest assured whatever you do make will outlive you as a plastic bag takes 100 years to decompose in a landfill. But then you may decide to simply hoard those bags for picking up your doggie’s doo-doo, because their days are probably numbered. San Francisco was the first city in North America to ban the plastic bag, followed by the equally progressive if not quite as fabulous Leaf Rapids, Manitoba, and Ontario, Canada is gearing up to reduce the number of bags we use, and Australia has already made significant progress in that direction.
posted by cortex at 8:51 PM on June 11, 2007


How to make plastic yarn. That chandelier is really cool. Great post!
posted by YoBananaBoy at 8:59 PM on June 11, 2007


8?

Every Albertson's supermarket has a bench made from recycled plastic bags. They (and a few other chains) will be happy to recycle your used plastic bags into furniture, and they also offer a 5¢ rebate if you bring in them in to re-use. Poly Lumber seems like one good way to deal with the problem. Tired of bags cluttering your cabinets, nooks? Put 'em on the patio! BringYourOwn.org has more ideas if you're not exactly the artistic type.

Where did I read about plastic bag forests downwind of Mexico City? Seems like it might have been some sort of fictional work.
posted by carsonb at 9:11 PM on June 11, 2007


Honey, what happened to all the bags?

The Bag Hutch(tm)!

No shit?
posted by papakwanz at 9:12 PM on June 11, 2007


I made a loom out of nails, dowels and an old picture frame to make indoor/outdoor area rugs from my bags, but now it works at cross purposes, as people keep bringing me more bags full of bags all the time. My advice: if you are going to do plastic bag crafts, don't make it widely known or you may end up with more bags than you started with.
posted by obloquy at 9:12 PM on June 11, 2007


The whole site from cape link has some neat stuff on it, and I wonder if this might be true for some of the other links too. I find it disappointing that a lot of these links contain only pictures, with no explanation. Still, neat post.

Once, I lived in a house with an entire closet packed full of Price Chopper bags.
posted by Secretariat at 9:14 PM on June 11, 2007


Oh shit! The Price Chopper bags! Good times.
posted by cortex at 9:18 PM on June 11, 2007


I never have enough of the stupid things. Should I feel environmentally right-on if I end up having to buy garbage bags?
posted by pompomtom at 9:30 PM on June 11, 2007


Cortex, I've gotta ask - did orange swan just beat you to the punch with this post, or did you do that off the top of your head?

(plastic fiber content - this bag made from plastic strips as seen on Knitty Gritty.)
posted by booksherpa at 9:43 PM on June 11, 2007


Cortex split up my too-long post and posted half of it as a more inside, booksherpa.
posted by orange swan at 9:49 PM on June 11, 2007


Yeah, that was just repair work.

*shakes tiny fist at orange swan*
posted by cortex at 9:52 PM on June 11, 2007


Also, didn't Ireland ban these first?
posted by pompomtom at 9:55 PM on June 11, 2007


I knew it was long but hoped it wasn't unacceptably so.

[and a shake of the orange tailfeathers at cortex]

posted by orange swan at 9:57 PM on June 11, 2007


I use plastic bags quite a bit (to contain my cigarette-stinking spare jackets from the club, to have in my car in case I have to throw up), but I gave up on bringing them back into a store for re-use. I'm occasionally susceptible to feeling the social pressure of looking like a crazy person, so I can only pull it off at Whole Foods.

That commercial where the guy feels the awful implications of paper or plastic? That's me. But, my secret shame ... plastic bags, I love you. You stretch when paper would tear, you contain foul smells and liquids without complaint, you ball up when I want you to. Plastic bags are my secret environmentally-unfriendly love about which I can never tell my friends. I'm in a closet that's the opposite of green, and your soft rustling reminds me of my wicked ways. New-age sin was never so useful.
posted by adipocere at 10:04 PM on June 11, 2007 [4 favorites]


I love plastic bags, too. I haven't gone back to a local grocery store because they make you feel guilty about using them and force you to pay five cents a bag. Monsters.
posted by stavrogin at 10:19 PM on June 11, 2007


Oh. Heh heh. Of course.

It's clearly time for bed . . .
posted by booksherpa at 10:41 PM on June 11, 2007


I really like the plastic rug idea. Give 'em to kids playing "house" (not House. "Mommy says differential diagnosis is bullshit!"), or use them for camping, or portable pet beds. That's so cool. Great post!
posted by Verdandi at 11:04 PM on June 11, 2007


If you light a plastic bag on fire and then let the firey bits sort of drip off, they make a sound like a laser as they fall.
posted by inconsequentialist at 11:06 PM on June 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


inconsequentialist, it's even better if you put a pan full of water below the burning bag. Then there's a *plip* and a *hiss* as the molten platic goes out.

Z
i
z
z
z
z
z
z
z
z
z
z

plip!

posted by lekvar at 11:14 PM on June 11, 2007


I'm embarrassed to admit I just bought one of these to manage my small plastic bag hoard.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:22 PM on June 11, 2007


In Germany as well as South Africa, you have to pay for plastic bags in the grocery stores. Paper isn't offered. In Germany, I usually carried bags with me when shopping. Here (South Africa), my housekeeper takes them home.

The bag crafts are being done by the locals, along with much other clever things done with trash. Plastic bags are woven into baskets to add color. Aluminum cans are crafted into all kinds of things, including purses, radios, electric guitars, fake flowers, and toys.

The seaside boardwalk is made from plastic lumber, How clever is that? It holds up much better than real wood!
posted by Goofyy at 12:42 AM on June 12, 2007


There's always the Bag Hutch...
posted by turing_test at 1:11 AM on June 12, 2007


Where I live you are encouraged to use your own cloth bags at the checkout to cart your groceries home. Very big on the "This Supermarket is Saving the Environment" angle to shame you encourage you to do so. Prominent posters etc.

But the bags used in store to bag loose fruit and veggies etc... Mysteriously you aren't encouraged to use your own cloth bags for that purpose. Nothing at all to do with it being an extra stuff-around, and the supermarket possibly needing to spend time and wages to process said loose fruit and veggies.

Nothing at all. Supermarket is committed to saving the environment.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 1:28 AM on June 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


How many plastic bags do you have stuffed in (naturally!) a large plastic bag somewhere in your home?

None. They're all stuffed in a plastic plastic bag dispenser because we delude ourselves that we'll take some with us when we go shopping.
posted by vbfg at 2:17 AM on June 12, 2007


They had those chickens at CB2 a while ago. The proceeds went to an AIDs charity and they were soooo cute. I bought one for my chicken collecting mom for her birthday.
posted by Jess the Mess at 4:17 AM on June 12, 2007


How many plastic bags do you have stuffed in (naturally!) a large plastic bag somewhere in your home? And do you despair of ever using them up?

I had been collecting plastic bags for a long time and had many large plastic bags worth. Then my apartment complex stopped offering dog poop bags so I started using the grocery bags, doubled up, to pick up my dog's poop. To my surprise, I have recently run out of bags. So I actually despair that I now have to buy poop bags.
posted by effwerd at 5:37 AM on June 12, 2007


Send em my way.

I have two dogs, so I am always using them for poopie bags. I hit up all my friends and family for their stash as well. I always know when it's time to go food shopping when my bags are low.
posted by brinkzilla at 7:42 AM on June 12, 2007


I look forward to the Ontario government's retraining initiatives taking effect. Because if the idiots sacking groceries at Loblaws keep handing me 15 bags, each with two small things in them every time I go grocery shopping, I'm surely going to lose it and go all postal on them one day.

It's actually one of the reasons I prefer self-checkout aisles--because I can stuff the bags so much more full of stuff on my own than any cashier would ever bother with.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:54 AM on June 12, 2007


You HAVE to buy poop bags? There is no other solution?
posted by agregoli at 8:01 AM on June 12, 2007


How many plastic bags do you have stuffed in (naturally!) a large plastic bag somewhere in your home?

Not quite enough. I have a dog and three ferrets, and between scooping the ferrets' litterboxes into plastic grocery bags and using still more bags to pick up after the poop-a-matic pup, we can run low sometimes.

Then I go ask the neighbors if they have any - I'll be damned if I'll pay money for plastic bags to clean up after the dog.
posted by dilettante at 8:03 AM on June 12, 2007


They had those chickens at CB2 a while ago. The proceeds went to an AIDs charity and they were soooo cute. I bought one for my chicken collecting mom for her birthday.

Chickens seem to be to plastic bag art as owls are to macrame. Fortunately, unlike the macrame owls, the plastic chickens are admittedly quite cute. But my question is, which craft has cornered the market on swans?
posted by orange swan at 8:10 AM on June 12, 2007


Get your local dog park one of these and take those extra bags to the dogs, for poop bags. Great post Orange Swan.
posted by theora55 at 8:58 AM on June 12, 2007


I hate these things. When I was living in Africa, they were absolutely everywhere you looked. Barely a place existed that wasn't spoiled by the sight of a discarded plastic bag. They call Africa one of the last untouched parts of the world, but the plastic makers of the world are making short work of that. I imagine if Conrad had written Heart of Darkness in the 20th century, he'd be talking about the rotting garbage and plastic offal plastered over the ground, rather than creeping vines and ominous landscapes.
posted by i less than three nsima at 9:24 AM on June 12, 2007


You HAVE to buy poop bags? There is no other solution?

Well, no. But I imagine if it took me ten years to collect all those bags and two years to use them all, chances are good I will have to find some other solution. I go shopping. I go to the dog parks and pick up a few (though they're too small). And so forth but it's never enough.

Or I guess I could try this route.

I hate these things. When I was living in Africa, they were absolutely everywhere you looked.

Plastic bags are the new tumbleweeds.
posted by effwerd at 10:10 AM on June 12, 2007


Just imagine: it's 700 years from now. Archaeologists find old town dumps and landfill from this preiod and carefully excavate to get a better picture of life as it was. There are fierce academic arguments regarding the significance of the carefully wrapped and preserved bags of dog dooky.
posted by dilettante at 7:28 PM on June 12, 2007


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