January 29, 2014

An Upcycled Bag Made Of Bags

My upcycled murse made of woven plastic shopping bags.

Today's post is about my fabulous bag. I would not normally be talking about my bag except that the cashiers at the local grocery store keep on telling me how much they love it.

Far from being an expensive men's designer bag (Man Purse, or Murse for short), mine is a lovingly hand-made model woven from plastic shopping bags.

For 23 years this flexible, sturdy bag has carried bulging loads of library books, vegetable harvests, groceries, and picnics. In all that time it does not appear to have sustained any wear and tear. It looks as good as the day it was gifted to us by a creative eco-conscious friend.

Thus the compliments from the cashiers that see me regularly at the till, stuffing amazing amounts of food into my murse-like reusable shopping bag made of shopping bags.

In an wonderful example of early upcycling, ubiquitous plastic shopping bags were woven with hemp twine, and nylon webbing handles were added. The result is a high quality, functional bag made with a waste material that can be found in abundance in most trees (and everywhere else).

Woven plastic shopping bags continue to be a popular upcycling material for crafting bags, rugs, hats, wallets, purses, murses and a variety of other items.

In Cambodia a company makes upcycling the centre of its business model. It makes items made from cleaned woven plastic bags procured in areas without garbage collection.

Their efforts clean the streets of the bags that "are everywhere: clogging drains, choking animals, and blighting already difficult lives."

There are many online sites offering woven plastic bag DIY projects, so you too can create value from waste, and create something that you can enjoy for years, possibly decades.

I don't know if real men carry murses, but real men definitely care about the environment, so guys, you can't really go wrong here. And if your bag turns heads in the shops, that is your opportunity to share your commitment to a cleaner environment, and a world where plastic bags don't grow on trees.

Beautiful patterns can be made with different
coloured plastic bags.


  1. I think it's exciting you have had it so long and it's in perfect condition.Think of the stories it could tell if it could speak.

  2. I love that the bags upcycle plastic bags instead of recycling them and look good too. It's impressive that the one you have has lasted so long. I wish plastic bags were outlawed. They are so horrible in every way and I am sure we have enough in the world already to make one of these for everyone.

    MarieG lifesimplybalanced.com

  3. I've tried my hand at crocheting some things with "plarn". Your bag ,however, rocks! Well made and made to last! I love it when that happens.

  4. This project is so cool! Impressive job. I am going to try this right away. Your project has given me other inspirational ideas too related to upcycling since this is my field of interest. I have recently found many inspiring ideas in this book by Altered Upcycling. Check it out!


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