Guest Blog post by Claudine Niski -
ReCreate, Education Specialist
Girl Scout Leader, Mother of Triplets, Hobby Hopper, Singer of Silly Songs
As a confirmed Hobby Hopper and someone addicted to joining groups, I try to make the most of my limited free time by combining activities. For example, I have a job in which I get to try new crafts, using only re-use items, and then share them with groups of people. What does this have to do with the Plastic Shopping Bag ban? Well, that is a great post-Earth Day blog topic.
So, the Plastic Shopping Bag ban is slowly working its way through the counties of California and I couldn’t be more excited! However, I know that the idea of having to remember to bring your own bags to the store is making a lot of people panic.
Last weekend I had the perfect opportunity to combine my favorite activities. My mothers of multiples club, Parents of Multiples – Sacramento, was hosting our Northern California Association of Mothers of Twins Clubs spring convention. The Theme was “MommyCon: Embracing your Inner Superhero”. The convention committee was looking for interesting workshops to offer for attendees, specifically something crafty. Being elbow deep in helping to create an eight foot tall dinosaur out of plastic for ReCreate’s Earth Day plastic education booth, one-time use plastic was constantly on my mind. I decided to offer an ‘Environmental Superhero’ workshop to teach ways to use what you already have around your house as replacements for those plastic shopping bags that are going away soon.
I brought in my sewing machine and provided a knitting loom for each participant. They brought in an old t-shirt and a handful of plastic shopping bags they had in their pantry. It took about five minutes per shirt to transform them from a t-shirt to a useful, box-bottom, tote bag. We had a really fun hour during which they learned how to make Plarn (plastic yarn) to use on the knitting loom to make a strong reusable plastic bag out of the flimsy one-time use shopping bags. While we crafted, I lead a discussion about tips for making our transition to bringing our own bags to the store easier.
Our Best Tips:
1) You don’t need to buy all new bags, you probably have a bunch you can gather at your house. Think of all those totes you’ve collected at fairs, conventions, trade shows, home shows…they don’t have to be fancy or matchy-matchy.
2) Use one bag to hold all your others, then keep the bag in your car. If you have two cars, keep a bag of bags in each.
3) Create the habit of packing the bags back in your car as the last thing you do when putting away groceries.
4) Start creating this habit now, before you need to.
5) As you are learning this new way of shopping, hold yourself accountable. If you leave your bags in your car, just load your groceries back in your cart at the check stand and you can put them into your bags when you get to the parking lot (once you do that one or two times, you’ll remember).
6) Don’t forget the produce bags! There are a number of companies selling light, mesh bags to replace those produce bags, splurge on some.
7) Carry a few small nylon bags in your purse or glove box for those trips to the mall or department store. Reusable bags aren’t just for grocery shopping!
I had 15 participants attend my workshop and I was told it had the highest attendance at convention. Yea! Crafters, unite to change the world!