Monday, December 22, 2008

What to Do With Those Plastic Bags

Here's your dilemma: Since you heard about plastic grocery bags sitting in landfills for up to an estimated 1,000 (!) years, you've switched to a canvas tote. But you still have tons of plastic bags kept in a larger plastic bag under your sink (or in your closet). And sometimes you forget to bring a reusable tote and take home a few more. Other times you (gasp!) throw one or two away because what on earth can you do with so many plastic bags?!

If this is you, you're not alone. I myself have a box full of plastic bags, some of which are three years old. So, thinking that readers might also have this problem, I Googled "what to do with plastic bags," and found some ideas. The obvious is to find a plastic bag recycling bin at your local grocery store, but this could pose a problem, because some types of plastic can't be recycled with others.

I also found several websites dedicated to craft projects made out of plastic bags. Some crafters fuse plastic bags together by ironing them, then sew those into totes, jewelry, jackets, dresses...etc. But melting and fusing plastic releases fumes that may or may not be toxic. I can't see how they could be very good for you or the environment.

Other crafters cut their plastic bags into strips and knit or crochet with them. If you know how to knit or crochet, I think this is the project for you. I searched through some sites and found a basic and easy pattern (because who wants to devote tons of time on a complicated pattern for knitting plastic bags?) and you can find it here.

If you don't know how to knit and desperately want to knit up your plastic bags, here's a step-by-step video from youtube.

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Last Week's Third Thursday A Success

Every month, the Center for the Urban Environment holds a "Third Thursday" event, on the third Thursday of the month for a discussion about the environment and today's issues. Last Thursday the discussion was about water. Guests were invited to see what they really know about the future of New York City’s waterfront. 'City of Water,' a new documentary by the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance and the Municipal Art Society was shown. MWA President Roland Lewis and filmmaker Jasper Goldman talked about how the documentary tackled issues of development and access to the waterfront head-on. Two years in the making, 'City of Water' explores the aspirations of public officials, environmentalists, academics, community activists, recreational boaters and everyday New Yorkers for a diverse, vibrant waterfront at a time when the shoreline is changing faster than at any other time in New York’s history.

For more information, visit

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