Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Plastic Vortex

I'm sure not many people realize this... I mean I always new there were issues with plastic bags polluting the ocean. But I guess I just never realized it was this bad. Thank you Groosey for bringing the plastic rubbish vortex to my attention.

Research suggests that 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags equaling 100 million tonnes are consumed worldwide each year, The 10% that wind up polluting our oceans have caused a plastic vortex to accumulate in the North East Pacific Ocean, just North of Hawaii. In the calm center of the vortex, plastic accumulates and is now the size of Texas. Check out this great animation of the ocean currents here.

The city of San Francisco will be first city in the U.S. to take a stand and ban plastic bags in large markets and pharmacies. But what can a crafter do to help the cause? Round up the bags you do have laying around in the house or collect them from neighbors and friends to start reusing plastic bags for your next craft project.

I found this great tutorial on how to make plastic bag yarn and I now plan on making a few reusable grocery totes... And maybe a rug if I can find enough green and blue bags.


The bags I use are thin shopping bags with handles. They come mostly in white, greys, blues and greens. Occassionally I find a pink,red or orange bag but these are very rare. Make sure the bags are clean. Wash and dry if necessary.


Flatten the seams and smooth the wrinkles.


Fold the bag longitudinally into a 2.5 - 3cm wide strip. Handles at one end and bottom seam at the other.


Cut off handles and bottom seam. These can be used for other embellishments. See Cunjevoi Garden.


Cut remaining folded strip into 'biscuits' to whatever width you prefer. A good width is approximately 2cm. I use a 2.5mm - 3mm steel crochet hook for this width.


Unfold biscuits (loops). Knot loops together into one long piece of double-stranded yarn.


Tighten the knot.


Resulting double-stranded yarn.


Wind the yarn up into balls.

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