07 April 2008

Reusable shopping bags make "green" gift bags

Keep Monera's hack in mind the next time you shop for a birthday party gift:

I hate buying bags for gifts to go in -- it seems like such a waste to buy a bag that will be thrown away and forgotten. So my solution is to use Green Bags (reusable shopping bags) instead of gift bags.

I dress them up with yarn or ribbon, add some tissue paper and there you go -- an environmentally friendly gift bag. Parents like them because they can hold many gifts/toys in the bag when they cart it out to the car, and then reuse them while shopping. I like it because it is one way to lower impact one gift at a time, and they are cheaper than gift bags.

Target has a really fun one with a tree and bird on it, and Whole Foods now has a cute one with apples. If you really want something special, there are some people on Etsy making even cuter ones.

Craft paper makes cheap, recyclable wrapping paper
Sew simple gift bags out of sale fabric, and lose the wrapping paper for good

Your comments

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Good idea - although I've rarely purchased a gift bag. I just re-use the ones that my kids get at their parties. If we run out, I'll try this hack.
We're also fond of the "Sunday comics as gift wrap" hack - an oldie but a goody.

Great idea! I too have just been reusing ones that have been given to us, but when I run out...I will definately use this!

This is such a great idea! Gift bags are so expensive for something that isn't actually part of the gift. I'll remember this hack when I have an occasion that isn't a wedding/baby shower (my current stash of gift bags).

These Reisenthel bags are fantastic:
Really pretty, really sturdy, and they fold up to almost nothing.

I love this idea! This is such an easy thing to do, but it is one of those things that most people wouldn't think of. I know I'll be doing this instead of buying those cheap paper gift bags! Thanks for posting about this!

My favorite way to recycle plastic grocery bags is using them as "pooper scooper bags" when walking the dog. They fit in a pocket - and you can use it as a glove to pick up the little canine presents then tie them off and throw them in the trash.

I also use them in a similar way with stinky baby diapers - messy ones get tossed in an old grocery bag and then the bag is tied off and tossed.

Thats a great idea ^-^ I tend to reuse gift bags we get a couple of times. At christmas my family laughs as I seperate the wrapping and such out. I use the tissue paper for a bunch of crafts and the bags for gifts in the future.

I know, Wal-Mart isn't a fav on most peoples list, but they had some cute reusable shopping/grocery/purse? bags today. They had little earth friendly slogans on the front and were lined, which is something I've rarely seen in the reusable bags.

I also use my daughter's art work as wrapping paper. She comes home from school with the big poster size sheets of finger paint and such, so instead of popping it into the recycling bin it goes in the re-use it shelf in the basement. have also been known to cut up old clothes (the ripped jeans and t-shirts) and put them through the serger to make quick and easy gift bags.

My wife has been producing small bags suitable for produce. After all, how much sense does it make to put your veggies in a plastic bag and then put the plastic bag in a reusable bag? These take the plastic out of the equation entirely.


Last Christmas I wrapped all of our gifts in those shopping bags.

Here in Melbourne (Australia) the Childrens Hospital produces them in about 40 different colours. So I bought up big, used them as bright, cheerful wrapping, and the hospital got all my money. All they needed was a ribbon to tie them closed (also reuasable).

We also use the kids paintings for wrapping.

The Ministry of Environment of the Government of Japan released a document showing how to wrap presents with fabric to reduce paper wastage... http://www.env.go.jp/en/focus/attach/060403-5.html
I've used it with cheap children's fabric and got great results!

I just did this at Christmas and they were SUCH a big hit! Family members are still telling me how much they are using their reusable bags. I don't think I'll ever buy paper gift bags again. (Well, maybe for baby showers. Those are awfully darling, you know.)

Great Hack!

I LOVE my Envirosax-- unfolded, they're attractive, hold more than a standard plastic grocery bag, and have a strap long enough that I can carry it on my shoulder. Folded, they are about the size of an eggroll, so I can easily have 4-5 in my purse all the time.

I went to the website to double check the address, and I see that they've introduced a new "kid's line" So they're even more appropriate for this post!


For baby showers I buy receiving blanks and wrap the gifts in them. They are going to be washed before use anyway. Also, they can be cut and used as burp rags.

I love the mini Target ones. They are $1. and fold up into a tiny rectangle. They are surprisingly strong. I use them as gift bags and I always keep one or two in my handbag. That way,I am never caught without my reusable bags....well, in theory, at least...

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