Trying to cut back on the paper and plastic in your life? From drinking straw wrappers and sandwich bags, there are lots of single-use items that just end up in the bin at the end of the day. Luckily, though, your skills as a sewist can prevent some of that waste. Check out these reusable sewing projects you can make for a more eco-friendly life.
- Reusable “Paper” Towels
Paper towels are convenient because they're easy to store right on the countertop. where you can grab one at a moment's notice without hunting through a draw, or cabinet. A fabric alternative can also be rolled and stored using your regular paper towel dispenser; just attach hook-and-loop patches to the corners of absorbent squares of towelling. Grab them as you need them, then toss them in the wash.
- Lunch Tote
We've all heard the benefits of bringing our own lunch to work, with positive effects for everything from our wallets to our waistlines, but did you realise bringing your lunch can also cut down on rubbish? Instead of a brown paper bag, switch to a reusable lunch tote. Water-resistant fabrics are easy to wipe clean with a cloth, or opt for soft, washable fabrics and make yourself a spare so you've got one on hand while the other is in the wash.towelling. Grab them as you need them, then toss them in the wash.
- Fabric Bowl Covers
Another place to swap washable fabric for disposable plastic is with these simple bowl covers. Simply stitch elastic into water-resistant fabric for covers that snap into place over your serving dishes. Since you can make them to suit your own dishes, you'll never have to worry about finding the right size again!
- Washable Snack Bags
If you're bringing your lunch in a cute handmade tote, it only stands to reason that your snacks should be stored likewise, doesn't it? Portion-sized pouches made from washable fabrics work best.
- Fabric Napkin Sets
Napkins are one of the easiest place to reduce everyday waste. Most of us have a set or two to break out when company comes calling, but having some extras on hand makes it a simple switch to an everyday item.
- Bread Bag
Rather than wrapping up homemade baked goods or leftover bakery items in plastic, paper, or foil, use a densely woven bag. Undyed linen is a good option for skis, as it won't transmit dyes or plastic-y synthetic fibres to your foods.
- Market Tote
With a lightweight, foldable market tote that fits in your purse, glove compartment, or even your usual jacket pocket, you'll never find yourself without when you head out to run errands. For this project, be sure to use an easily washable fabric, like cotton or a poly blend, as market bags should be washed regularly to prevent cross-contamination from grocery items.
- Sweeper Covers
The disposable pads for floor sweepers are convenient, but they're not particularly eco-friendly. Thankfully, it's easy to stitch up some fabric replacements that work even better. You can even use nubbly, textured fabrics for a little extra scrubbing power.
- Wipe-Clean Placemats
Materials like vinyl and oilcloth are great for kitchen projects because they're so easy to wipe clean. Save yourself the hassle and extra laundry of washing your table linens by whipping up some easy placemats made from these materials, and you can have everything tidied away in no time.
- Silverware Rolls
Another staple to keep with your lunch tote! Avoid the need for plastic cutlery by keeping a full set on hand. A simple roll-up pouch with slots for knife, spoon, and fork, will keep them neat and organised in your lunch bag.
- Fabric gift bags
The holidays are festive and fun, but can also be wasteful. Just think of all the beautiful wrapping paper that's shredded and thrown away. Instead, why not give your gifts in reusable fabric gift bags? There are plenty of beautiful prints that are just as festive, and you'll really \ be giving two gifts in one!
- Travel Mug Wrap
You've probably hear that making your coffee at home is easier on the wallet, but it's also easier on the environment, as you can use a reusable mug for your morning beverage of choice. Dress up that mug with a handmade wrap—not only is it a style statement and a fun and easy project, it'll keep your tea or coffee warm even longer.
- Washable Dish Sponges
Dish sponges are notoriously dirty. While you can prolong their lifespan by microwaving them to kill bacteria, they're still essentially disposable. Instead, make your own fabric version that can be washed and sterilized in the dryer after each use. No waste, and a cleaner kitchen!
- Exfoliating Scrubbies
Want to perk up your skincare routine without adding more waste? Palm-sized exfoliating scrubbies made from natural fibres like linen or cotton are gentle, reusable, and small enough to keep close at hand when you're getting ready for the day or taking your makeup off at night. Be sure to make plenty—you're going to love them!