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Precious Waste - Reusing Plastic Bags in a Beautiful Way  RSS feed

 
Adrien Lapointe
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I have to say that I don't like synthetic fibers for multiple reasons. However, this is a truly beautiful way to reuse plastic bags.

 
Wyatt Brush
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WOW! That is really neat! I have melted both HDPE and LDPE bags down, to make solid blocks, but it has been very time consuming. I cut the bags up small, but I still end up with air bubbles in the blocks. For the most part, I think that I have not been able to compress the molten plastic hard enough. Here I have been trying to fit recycled plastic into my woodworking interest, when it appears to better fit into my textiles interest! I will have to try this sometime now!
 
Julia Winter
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I made a sturdy bag on my (lap sized, rigid heddle) loom using cotton string as the warp and strips of plastic from plastic shopping bags as the weft. Not as lovely as the thread in the video, but it's satisfying to get something useful out of all that waste.
 
Rebecca Norman
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http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/bidisha/meet-kanchi-tamang-nepale_b_4029918.html


A few years ago on my last trip to Nepal I saw some beautiful baskets for sale in the town at Chitwan National Park. They were a little different than the ones in these pictures, but also very nice. As I recall, they had colorful rolls of packaging sort of sewn or tied together to make flat mats and round baskets.
 
Casie Becker
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Have indoor/outdoor rugs on my mind. This looks like the perfect material to make them with. These rugs are much more expensive to purchase than most indoor rugs these days, does anyone know how to suggest that as a product for the people using this material?

 
Judith Browning
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As much as I love the idea of repurposing materials, I think that plastic grocery bags have too short a life span to be really useful before they just naturally disintegrate into those tiny bits of plastic that have permeated our world......I don't know if rugs would be a good way to sequester something on it's way to becoming more trash? I think I like the idea of making them into plastic 'bricks' though....for the moment I try to avoid bringing anything home in them and those that show up here are taken to the recycling center...not sure if that's the best choice but it's one I'm more comfortable with.
 
Casie Becker
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I did forget to think about how they disintegrate in response to UV light. I guess bath rugs is as close at they could go. It's a shame, since outdoor rugs make cement slab patios and porches much more comfortable in very hot and very cold weather.
 
Julia Winter
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Casie Becker wrote:Have indoor/outdoor rugs on my mind. This looks like the perfect material to make them with.


I think you could use cording made from plastic bags as a inner structure for a rug, but you'd want to cover it or wrap it with scrap cloth to protect from UV light. My woven plastic bag has held up well (for years) but it lives indoors. I do think that plastic shopping bags out in the sun will begin to break down. If the plastic is out of the sun it will last for ages, though.

I think if you made sort of rope with plastic bags in the middle and fabric hiding it, and then you braided it to keep the layers in place, you could wind that into an oval or round rug that would last a rather long time. Having the plastic inside might let you get more rug from less scrap fabric.

I wouldn't recommend melting plastic bags unless you have a brisk windy day and outside work space. The fumes can't be good for you!
 
Ray Cecil
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I wonder if you could use plastic bags to make a reinforcement fiber to strengthen cob walls or other earthen works. Heck, maybe we should just stop using plastic all together! Does melting the plastic into bricks etc cause off-gassing of the plastic that is harmful?

hmmm. Maybe an insulative fiber to use as wall insulation....
 
Judith Browning
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maybe we should just stop using plastic all together!

Yes! especially plastic grocery bags and bottles.....

Does melting the plastic into bricks etc cause off-gassing of the plastic that is harmful?

probably...and I'm sorry I can't find, yet, the information that I was referring to in my post that I've quoted below.  I think it was a post here at permies but has been awhile back and I'm not sure I agree with myself about the plastic bricks anymore
As much as I love the idea of repurposing materials, I think that plastic grocery bags have too short a life span to be really useful before they just naturally disintegrate into those tiny bits of plastic that have permeated our world......I don't know if rugs would be a good way to sequester something on it's way to becoming more trash? I think I like the idea of making them into plastic 'bricks' though....for the moment I try to avoid bringing anything home in them and those that show up here are taken to the recycling center...not sure if that's the best choice but it's one I'm more comfortable with.
 
Sharon Carson
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they are now selling beautiful design patterns of indoor outdoor rugs in Walmart made of plastic waste . We also saw them at a local community craft fair . They are likely made by people in 3rd world countries as they were very cheap but looked well made and designed I sure would not want to compete with that as a weaver . I would not buy one as I like natural fiber and plan to weave rugs with the clothes from my family that I have saved all my life . Sharon
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Here in the Netherlands the shops are not allowed to give plastic bags for free anymore. They still sell them (5 ct. for a small one, 1 euro for a reusable shopper bag). The amount of plastic trash everywhere is getting less, though I still see a lot of plastic bottles   I.m.o. all plastic 'throw-away' stuff must be stopped! And cans for drinks too.
A few years ago I made (crochet) a large bag all of plastic bags I got for free. I do not use it for shopping, it's hanging indoors, filled with old towels to use for cleaning.
 
Ken Grunke
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My sister crocheted this bag probably ten years ago. It's served well as a produce storage bag and a general tote bag, but is getting pretty well stretched out. Have been saving bags for another crochet project, but I love the loom idea also. I'm planning to make a backstrap loom. For those interested, I do have a drop spindle in my Etsy store.
shopping_bag_bag.jpg
[Thumbnail for shopping_bag_bag.jpg]
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Julia Winter wrote:
Casie Becker wrote:

I wouldn't recommend melting plastic bags unless you have a brisk windy day and outside work space.  The fumes can't be good for you!


and those same fumes are not that great for the air outside and those who breathe it.
 
sarah jane
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Hmm what do we think about making plastic bags into ... shoe rack herb garden.. you know those cloth shoe racks that are filled with earth to make the garden go up the wall?
 
Jean Soarin
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sarah jane wrote:Hmm what do we think about making plastic bags into ... shoe rack herb garden.. you know those cloth shoe racks that are filled with earth to make the garden go up the wall?


That's an interesting idea, but wouldn't those break down very quickly?
 
Judith Browning
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This is an interesting article about compressing blocks of plastic...no heating or melting plastic, just a big truck's weight on the block.  Towards the end of the article they touch on other plastic brick methods and links.   Anything involving melting plastic would be better done by a process able to deal with the toxic fumes.

http://www.motherearthnews.com/green-homes/recycled-plastic-block-houses

...as nice as the crocheted stuff looks, I have a resistance to making something out of a material that is ultimately just destined for the landfill.  Natural fibers, wood, etc, even when ruined can be returned to the earth to decompose.  Tiny bits of plastic all over the world and in the oceans are becoming a serious problem.
 
Lynne Webb
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Judith Browning wrote:As much as I love the idea of repurposing materials, I think that plastic grocery bags have too short a life span to be really useful before they just naturally disintegrate into those tiny bits of plastic that have permeated our world......I don't know if rugs would be a good way to sequester something on it's way to becoming more trash?  I think I like the idea of making them into plastic 'bricks' though....for the moment I try to avoid bringing anything home in them and those that show up here are taken to the recycling center...not sure if that's the best choice but it's one I'm more comfortable with.


You are correct that they break down quickly. I'm going to check these plastic bricks out and see how they can become something long lived and useful. A person well versed in conservation and all things natural said all the hype over plastic bags is wrong. As a test leave them out in the sun and they break down into nothingness. Not in a week, it takes longer than that but it happens. The best thing is to scream until plastic bags are a thing of the past. I remember life without them and paper bags became text book covers, started fires in fireplaces, made great ground cover that broke down, lured worms and created more soil.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Lynne Webb wrote:

A person well versed in conservation and all things natural said all the hype over plastic bags is wrong. As a test leave them out in the sun and they break down into nothingness. Not in a week, it takes longer than that but it happens.


I wonder about this.  In the process of breaking down, what VOCs do they release?  When they are no longer visible to the human eye, are they still weird petrochemical molecules?

Your person well versed in conservation and all things natural may be like some of the people I've encountered, who would have everyone believe he knows what he is talking about but has not addressed the issue with sufficient depth, thoroughness and attention to accuracy, nor looked with the same care at credentials of the people he is quoting/relying on for his information.  It is SO easy to think we understand something, share our beliefs as facts, only to discover later we were missing several parts of the picture. I'm a pretty good example of this,in my younger day, but, having lived long enough to see the experts I quoted in the context of further information, I am pretty skeptical about most statements such as the one about plastic bags above.

Just one example:  remember "nalgene" bottles, that were supposed to be so safe that it was THE kind of water bottle for backpackers to have?  And where are they now?   On further investigation they were leaching nasty (and tasteless) compounds into the water they carried.

We don't NEED plastic bags, they are convenient and we "like" them.  I still like paper bags better, too.
 
Judith Browning
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http://business-ethics.com/2010/09/17/4918-plastic-grocery-bags-how-long-until-they-decompose/?doing_wp_cron=1493934427.7718029022216796875000
Even though polyethylene can’t biodegrade, it does break down when subject to ultraviolet radiation from the sun, a process known as photodegradation. When exposed to sunshine, polyethylene’s polymer chains become brittle and crack, eventually turning what was a plastic bag into microscopic synthetic granules. Scientists aren’t sure whether these granules ever decompose fully, and fear that their buildup in marine and terrestrial environments—and in the stomachs of wildlife—portend a bleak future compromised by plastic particles infiltrating every step in the food chain. A plastic bag might be gone in anywhere from 10 to 100 years (estimates vary) if exposed to the sun, but its environmental legacy may last forever.


http://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/everyday-myths/how-long-does-it-take-for-plastics-to-biodegrade.htm
the only real way to break down plastic is through photodegradation. This kind of decomposition requires sunlight, not bacteria. When UV rays strike plastic, they break the bonds holding the long molecular chain together. Over time, this can turn a big piece of plastic into lots of little pieces.


This is what I've always understood about plastic grocery bags in particular and other plastics in general...they are with us forever...along with fibers from synthetic clothing that are in the washing machine water after washing clothes....huge amounts of tiny tiny stuff that is showing up in measurable amounts in the oceans.
 
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