A Hobby That Helps Save the Planet
I've been recycling plastic bags for nearly 12 years, crocheting various bags into useful and artful items. The past 5 years I've taken blue ribbons at the Puyallup Fair, and the past 2 years, have achieved Reserve Grand Champion, and Grand Champion rosettes, respectively.
I crochet during my daily round-trip commute to the FAA Seattle Airports District Office. I design and create tote bags, rugs, hats, yard slippers, water bottle insulators, cell phone and playing card pouches…even poker chips…out of plastic grocery bags, bread bags, and various other plastic product packaging.
This is not a new idea, but it's a great one. Ladies were doing much the same thing with plastic bread and produce bags in the late 1950s. By the time I got into it in 2001, the new generation of plastic shopping bags had become an environmental issue.
Through the combined efforts of my granddaughter and me, we have easily transformed over 500,000 plastic bags through crochet. There are all types and colors; gray bags from Kohl's department stores, black ones from Union 76 gas stations/food marts, blue sleeves from New York Times home newspaper delivery, and beige bags from Hallmark.
My largest creation is a 4½-foot-by-11-foot throw rug we use on trips. It dries quite quickly after hosing it off and folds up nicely. It has seen four years of use and there are no signs of deterioration. The project took 30,000 bags to crochet, or about 100 bags per square foot. The bag rugs also provide excellent insulation, she noted.
During the past several years, I've actively pursued giving demonstrations at the Fair, at FAA Earth Day events, and during my daily commute. My passion has been to inspire others to try their hand at it and help transform all the millions of bags out there into useful items that are functional, and, with a little imagination, can be beautiful.
Once people realize what I’m doing, on any given week I can score 10 bags full of bags that are left in my cubicle. People know I do things with them. The word's out; I'm the bag lady.