3 DIY projects to reduce plastic waste

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Canada is set to ban all single-use plastics by 2021. Many items like plastic bags, straws and packaging pile up in our landfills, streets and even bodies of water. The negative effect of single-use plastic is reason enough without the ban to make people want to switch to more sustainable options. There are many reusable products readily available to purchase. Although there are plenty of affordable alternatives to plastic items, it can be fun to make your own or spice up what you already have.

Shopping bag/tote

Many stores offer their own reusable shopping bags at checkout. But making your own customizable bag can be a lot of fun and maybe even more sustainable depending on the fabric you decide to use. Although this project requires sewing, similar results can be made with a hot glue gun.

Navigator. Londons student lifestyles magazine.

Step 1) Fold a long rectangle of fabric of your choice with right sides (side with pattern) facing together. Adjust as desired. This is the rough size of the bag.

Step 2) Once your fabric is cut to size, begin to use sewing pins along the edges to map out where you need to sew. Remember to leave a bit a room for seam allowance, meaning, don’t pin right to the edge. Leave a few centimetres of extra fabric for the outer edge.

Step 3) Sew the two sides of the bag and make a small hem on the top of two sides. A sewing machine provides the fastest and most effective results, but sewing by hand is still possible.

Step 4) Grab two strips of fabric that are the same size. The length is up to you but aim for the width to be around one and half to two inches. Fold each strip in half (vertically) and sew. These will be the straps.

Step 5) Pin the ends of the straps to your bag. Make sure they are aligned with the other side. Sew each end of the straps to the bag with two diagonal lines to form an “X”. Once done sewing all four ends, flip the bag right side out and it is complete.

Produce bag (with drawstring)

At grocery stores, when buying produce there are thin plastic bags used to put your fruits and veggies. Here is a quick, easy, and eco-friendly alternative.

Step 1) Cut a 9x18 inch rectangle of fabric. Flip so the wrong side is facing you. Fold the top of the rectangle down about 3/4 of an inch and pin a straight line.

Step 2) With a sewing machine or by hand, sew a straight line leaving enough space for our ribbon to still fit through.

Step 3) Fold fabric so the un-sewn edges are touching. Pin the side and bottom and sew. When sewing the side be sure to leave about five centimetres of space from what was sewn in step two. Flip the bag right side out when complete.

Step 4) Thread ribbon (desired length) through the tube we made at the top. Be sure to leave about two and a half inches of ribbon hanging outside from both ends. Tie a knot on each end of the ribbon to finish it off.

Beeswax reusable food wraps

Plastic wrap is a common item used to store leftovers. However it isn’t the most eco-friendly. Here is a simple alternative.

Step 1) Cut a rectangle or square of 100 per cent cotton fabric to desired size. Begin to preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2) On a baking sheet with parchment paper, place the fabric flat. Sprinkle on pellets of beeswax all over the fabric. Be sure not to miss the edges. Put into the oven.

Step 3) After four to eight minutes in the oven, remove. With an old paint brush (it will get ruined) begin to evenly spread the wax.

Step 4) Carefully remove the fabric from the baking sheet and wave to help cool off. Set on a flat surface to hang to dry.