We like to recycle what we can, when we can. Does that mean everything? No, for now its difficult to separate everything, but we are working on that. One thing we have been doing is finding new uses for things that would otherwise be recycled or even trashed.
The most interesting and subsequently abundant thing we have are feed sacks. Not the cloth, or the paper kind, but those woven plastic cloth variety. I first just started using them as transport bags for the recycling center. They also make good work table covers when split. Along the same lines, several will make a really durable drop cloth and cut down shorter they even make passable sand bags.
Of course the mother of invention is imitation. I saw where someone was making totes out of them. I thought about the fact that I am half way decent with a sewing machine, and decided to give it a try. First bag… you know it was proof of concept but not much else. It was realized at that point a little more accurate measuring was needed. Second bag and I had something.
These bags have a rolled tom seam with reinforced stitched handles and a gusseted bottom. Depending on much of the bag was saved, the totes were anywhere from grocery bag tall to just over a foot tall. And would you know, my wife got interested, started picking out fabric for me, and we are lining them now. They have pockets, pen slots, and other features. You know what? These were just interesting enough that people actually wanted to buy them? And… when I sold one, someone else saw it and wanted one.
Pretty soon we were taking custom orders from folks supplying their own bags and fabric. Remember the craft shows and festivals I mentioned with the soaps? Yep, they sold there too!