In today’s world, any attempt to purchase or pack food is synonymous with the creation of waste. Specifically, store-bought meals, sandwich bags and containers are almost inevitably made from plastic products or composites. Not only are they frequently used only once and then thrown into the trash to accumulate in landfills; this packaging then can remain on Earth for thousands of years afterwards. The daily global consumption of plastic products in association with food is resulting in precious resources being depleted, and the accumulation of pollution and garbage in both urban and natural environments. While some people may briefly consider this when reaching for a sandwich at the store or smothering their snack in plastic wrap, many opt for the convenience of plastic products rather than choosing sustainable alternatives. Even greener options such as reusable containers are frequently made from non-decomposable plastics. Therefore, choosing an Earth friendly way of packing food is becoming increasingly complicated. However, this is where homemade fabric sandwich bags win the game. Simple and sustainable, these fun bags can be customized with any type of prints and buttons. Additionally, they are compact (perfect for snacks and when bulky plastic containers are too cumbersome)!
o 100% cotton fabric
o Beeswax (pastille or grate your own from a block)
o Thread (and needle)
o Twine or string
o Basting brush or paint brush
Preheat the oven to 150◦-200◦ F
1. Cut the fabric into an 18″ x 18″ square
2. Measure 5″ in from each corner so that there is an 8″ straight side on the left and right. Then cut from the 5″ marks into a point on the top and bottom as shown above (you don’t want too steep of an angle). Keep in mind that the top point to bottom point should still be 18″.
3. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Then, place the cut fabric on the baking sheet and lightly cover it with beeswax.
* Note: the bag in this photo ended up having far too much wax. By trial and error, we found that a fairly sparse layer (about half as much as above) should do. A little goes a long way!
4. Place the fabric in the oven for approximately 10 mins. Before taking out the fabric use a basting or paint brush to spread wax to unsoaked areas. You want a thin even layer soaked throughout the fabric.
5. Take the fabric off the hot pan and let it cool.
6. Fold the bag
How to fold:
-Measure 1″ in from each the two flat edges and fold.
-From that fold measure 5″ in from both sides. Fold on that line.
-Measure 5″ in from the points and fold on that line. You should be left with a 6″ x 8″ rectangle in the centre.
7. Finish by sewing on buttons and string to tie the bag shut (as shown in the picture).
Voilà! Now say goodbye to your unsustainable sandwich bags and cling wrap, because plastic-free just got a whole lot cuter. 🙂
-Blog post written by Candice Simms and Abbey Clancy, Co-coordinators for Common Energy’s Tangible Solutions Team