Reusable Bags - What is being done? What can I do?
Making bags from malt bags at the Source to Sea Connecticut River Clean-up, September 2019
Friends of Reusable Bags/Greening Greenfield: Our goal is to help citizens make the transition from single-use plastic bags to reusable bags. Greenfield's plastic bag ban began January 16, 2020. Click for the ordinance enforced by the Greenfield Health Department. We have organized efforts to collect, make, and donate a variety of reusable bags from existing materials such as scrap fabric, t-shirts, feed bags and malt bags. You are welcome to use the information below to get involved by making bags, donating bags, and using reusable bags. Don't be fooled by marketing campaigns! Changing from plastic bags to paper bags is not the answer. See why here. . . and here.
We collaborate with many partners. We are affiliated with The Bagshare Project. We work regularly with organizations including The Textile Company, People's Pint, The Farmers Cooperative, Franklin Community Co-op, the John Zon Center and Connecticut River Conservancy. We are grateful for donations from Swag Cycle, numerous local banks, stores, and individuals. We are eager to continue and expand our work with local schools, Community Action, various community meal programs, faith communities, organizations, and neighborhood groups.
Not using disposable plastic is only the beginning. What should we use instead? Paper is compostable and recyclable. But the lifecycle environmental footprint of a paper grocery bag is worse than that of a plastic bag, if one looks at the fossil fuel used in everything from harvesting the trees through transporting the bulky paper. In fact, as we looked at water usage for organic cotton, or thicker plastics intended for multiple re-use, Friends of Reusable Bags concluded that while reuse is critical, the best material from which to make reusable bags, is any material that already exists.
We therefore hold and sponsor bag making workshops using a variety of existing materials. Bags can be sewn, cut and tied from t-shirts, or fastened with grommets. We are purchasing grommet machines to lend out and hope to work with organizations that can make bag-making a regular endeavor. This project is funded in part by a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.
All patterns here are free to be used and shared. Some can be made at home!
Types of Bags to Make
Upcoming Events: Click here to see what is coming up.
Finished bags can be donated at the Textile Company, 21 Power Square, Greenfield MA. Phone (413-773-7516. Mary is available Tuesday-Saturday from 9:00am - 5:00pm, if you have questions. Bags can also be left at the Center for Self-Reliance at 3 Osgood Street, Greenfield, (find them on Facebook for Center hours). There is also a Take a Bag/Leave a Bag bin at the John Zon Center, 35 Pleasant St, Greenfield, in the front lounge. Help yourself if you need one, or to donate large quantities, please see the front desk.
In a nutshell, plastics are made from oil; oil is made from dinosaurs; we aren't making any new dinosaurs. That's what we call a non-renewable resource. Also, they essentially never go away. From resource extraction to marine litter, the problems are well documented, and we aren't going to try to write our own summaries of the issues here, but we will share some of our favorite resources. Check these out, and feel free to let us know other links you think we should add.
Past Events: These can be found in Archived Past Events (bottom of the page). Click here.