Our second installment of 'going the extra mile' waste reduction projects is all about textiles -- there are so many opportunities in this area.
4) Grocery and/or Produce Bags: There are many reusable items you can make, but popular options are reusable grocery or produce bags. A bonus step here is to try and make them from material that was likely headed to the landfill. You can collect scrap material, old t-shirts, or even ask a thrift store for shirts they can’t sell. Give the bags to friends and family or donate them to community organizations! Some local retail stores might be interested in receiving these bags to give to their customers.
5) Menstrual Pads: If you have some sewing skills, you can make reusable menstrual pads (pattern 1, pattern 2). They are a great way to use flannel pieces that are too small for anything else. Make them for yourself, friends or family, or donate them. Many organizations need donations of period products and some are able to distribute reusable options. Reusable menstrual pads have a learning curve and require access to clean water, a place to clean and dry them, but providing reusable products as an option can encourage waste reduction and limit someone’s reliance on regular donations of disposable products.
6) T-shirt Yarn: A unique way to extend the life of textiles destined for the landfill is to make “t-shirt yarn”. First, you need to figure out what you’re going to do with the yarn. Find someone who knits or crochets who will actually want the yarn after you make it. Then, you’ll need to get your hands on unwearable cotton shirts -- try reaching out to friends/family/social media, thrift stores, or set up a drop off bin in your community. After that, you just grab some scissors and start cutting! There are many articles explaining how to cut the shirt to make yarn. Option 1. Option 2.
7) Reclaim Yarn: You can also unravel and reuse the yarn from unwearable knit sweaters. Again, try to find someone who will use the yarn, this should be easier than for T-shirt yarn, then use the suggestions above to try and collect knit items that would have ended up in the garbage! Again, there are many articles to show you how to unravel knit items. Option 1. Option 2.
Let us know if you have more ideas for waste reduction projects and maybe you’ll see it highlighted in a future blog!