Plastic Pollution
February 21 2013

Turn a T-shirt Into a Reusable Bag!

by Bill Hickman

Surfrider Chapters across the country have been reducing waste and creating reusable bags at the same time!!  Sure, you can dump old or unwanted clothes at your local thrift store, but there are few ways to truly recycle t-shirts.  There are lots of examples online, here are a few of the best that use the least materials and time.

West LA/Malibu, South Jersey, Charleston SC and Rincon PR are a few of the Surfrider Chapters that are making reusable bags at chapter meetings, film screenings and community events.  Many Surfrider Chapters have used this step-by-step guide from to make T-shirts into Reusable Bags with a sewing machine.  (Check out the comments on their guide for additional tips)

Here is a tutorial for a NO-SEW option from to turn a t-shirt into a reusable bag that the South Jersey Chapter has done at tabling events. "It is very easy and the bag is strong but it does take a little time.  We use my pinking shears, I like the look of that and it keeps the material from fraying, and we usually cut the neckline to make the opening bigger, easier loading and emptying that way!"

Finally, The Rincon, Puerto Rico Chapter gets discarded fabric, samples and extras to sew studier bags.  They use ideas from The Green Bag Lady who has provided a video and pattern to help get you started.  They seem very sturdy, but they take a bit more time per bag to make.

TIP: if you use unprinted t-shirts or turn them inside-out you can take the additional step of screenprinting them with your logo and/or message!  Here's one guide I found after a quick search.

What else have you done to make reusable bags?  Let us know in the comments.