How to Make Your Own Reusable Food Bags

Because single-use plastic bags generate lots of waste, the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano offers instructions for reusable ones. All you need is Velcro, fabric, scissors and an iron.

All the seems to focus on grocery bags.

But some of the less publicized sources of single-use plastic waste are the sandwich and snack bags we use daily. The amount of waste they generate is astounding. And though some people choose to reuse their snack bags once or even twice, most research warns of that there are health risks associated with plastic reuse.

Fortunately, there is a simple solution. Many new companies have started manufacturing reusable food bags, most of which retail between $7 and $10. But chances are, with little or no money, you have the materials at home to make your own.

Any gently used fabric will work great—this is a perfect time to use up an old dishcloth, tablecloth or fabric scraps. To keep the construction simple you can skip the sewing machine and hand sew with big needles and needlepoint thread. Throw in a piece or two of Velcro and you are ready to get started (iron-on Velcro seems to be the easiest to work with).

Below are instructions for both a sandwich wrap and a snack bag.

How to Make a Sandwich Wrap

  • Cut an 18 x 18 inch square of a gently used fabric.
  • Cut off the corners (approximately 8 inch diagonals) to make an octagon. The original sides of the square will now be about 6 inches each.
  • Fold the sides in, the bottom up and the top down to make a square the size of a sandwich.
  • Use a hot iron to secure the folds.
  • Iron on a piece of Velcro so that the top flap will adhere to the bottom flap.
  • Decorate! Use the embroidery thread to make it unique.

How to Make a Snack Bag

  • Cut a 14 x 7-inch piece of your favorite fabric.
  • Fold the bottom up, leaving a 1.5-inch flap for the top. Fold the top down and secure the folds with a hot iron.
  • Decorate! Use the embroidery thread to make it unique.
  • Sew up the sides using the embroidery thread.
  • Iron on a 5-inch piece of Velcro along the top flap.
Douglas Lober October 09, 2011 at 06:28 PM
That is awesome if you know how to sew. I personally can't even sew a button so i probably would have to go check out a site like this one where all i have to do is give them my logo and they can make my eco friendly bags for me. http://reusethisbag.com
The Ecology Center October 21, 2011 at 08:18 PM
There's no time like the present to learn a basic skill like hand sewing. Using thick thread and big needles makes this super easy for anyone. Plus, these bags are especially for food (snacks and sandwiches) as opposed to bigger grocery bags or lunch bags. And, you don't have to pay for shipping.


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