Are you using reusable shopping bags when grocery shopping each month? As convenient as it to just pay for a plastic bag at the till point (I know I’ve done that far too many times in the past), now I really love my homemade shopping bags and I make sure I don’t walk into a shop without them!


While you can easily purchase a variety of reusable shopping bags at all the major retailers in South Africa, you can also make them at home, for a fraction of the cost.


Reusable shopping bags can be made from:


  • Leftover sewing fabric (if you sew).
  • Scraps of fabric that you can’t use for anything else (you can join as many small pieces as you have to create unique and beautiful designs)
  • Old pillowcases, cushion covers, dishcloths, t-shirts, shirts, jeans, towels, etc. that can no longer be worn e.g. perhaps the colour has washed out or the fabric has become too thin.


These reusable shopping bags don’t take that long to put together at all. I’ve reached the stage where I don’t even measure – I simply cut, sew and I have a reusable shopping bag in 15 minutes or so. All of my bags are pretty much the same in size, though probably not to the exact millimetre; nonetheless, I am repurposing leftover scraps of material that I have, as well as old jeans, towelling, pillowcases, etc. that can no longer be used.


Reusable Shopping Bags


And best of all, I simply love my reusable shopping bags. They are cottony, easy to wash and they fold neatly in the boot of my car. They are colourful and eye-catching. I’m absolutely thrilled not to be buying any more plastic bags when I do my grocery shopping – I’m not wasting money or polluting the oceans and rivers with plastic trash. It’s an absolute win-win! Here are 25 other reasons why we should ditch the single-use plastic bags.


Reusable Shopping Bags


If you’d like to give these awesome, reusable shopping bags a go, here are a few easy-to-follow sewing tutorials for a variety of patterns.


Reusable Shopping Bags

Easy Grocery Shopping Bag Tote from 2 Pillowcases

Roll-Up Shopping Bags


If you don’t sew but would still like one or more of these, why not ask a friend to help you out?


Apart from my homemade shopping bags, I also have a few reusable nylon mesh bags so that I can pack loose fruits and veggies, for example bananas or garlic, when doing my grocery shopping. There is no longer a need to reach for those single-use plastic bags that tear even before you get home.


I bought my reusable nylon mesh bags from FreshBag sometime last year and I absolutely love using them! They fit nicely into the boot of my car, along with my other shopping bags, so they’re always ready for me to grab before I walk into the shops. You can order your nylon mesh bags directly from FreshBag or from the Faithful to Nature online store.


Fresh bag


I have also just ordered a cotton calico bread bag from FreshBag as well, which I’m so looking forward to using! Although we usually make our own homemade bread, sometimes we just run out of time and energy and we end up buying a loaf or two from the shops. And sometimes we just like to get a loaf of specialty bread or some nice rolls. In any case, I’m really looking forward to buying bread and using a reusable bread bag to bring it home.


If you’re up to it, you might want to make your own linen bread bag, in which case check out this easy tutorial:


DIY Bread Bag from Upcycled Linen


So many retailers pre-package our fruits and vegetables for us in plastic bags and we often don’t have a choice – we have to buy food. I really wish more retailers would make more produce available to us without the plastic packaging. I do like the Food Lover’s Market initiative to offer the following pantry products (in addition to dried fruit and nuts) in their bulk dispensers, and without the plastic packaging: stoneground flour, rice, chickpeas, lentils, oats and muesli. You can read more about that #zerowaste initiative here. And I also read just the other day that Woolworths is planning to phase out its non-recyclable plastic packaging for its own products (including plastic bags and straws) by 2022.


Disclaimer: Financial compensation was not received for this post. Opinions expressed here are my own.


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