What is the most eco friendly shopping bag money can’t buy? A Morsbag!

In Blog, Food and Drink, less waste by Lisa asd0 Comments

In a nutshell – since the plastic bag ban in shops we are all on the lookout for reusable alternatives. Morsbags make and give away bags made from old fabric. This makes them even more eco friendly and they are free!

It is pretty clear that a fabric bag is better for the environment than a plastic bag. Plastic never dies, cotton will rot down, become worm food and help to grow new things. The only trouble with cotton is the amount of water and pesticides used to create it. Organic cotton is better but it is generally imported. If only there was someone who made bags from old fabric……..

A Morsbag by Mary

What is the most eco friendly shopping bag?

The very best alternative to using a plastic bag is a bag made from old fabric. The impact of production has already happened, a usable resource is saved from landfill and they can look really cool. Each bag will save hundreds of plastic bags from being used and they are lots nicer than the reusable plastic ones.

I spoke to Catherine Appleton from Bude Baggers and she told me the history behind Morsbags: Claire Morsman started making fabric bags from leftover secondhand fabrics, such as tablecloths, sheets, duvet covers, curtains etc. because she was sick of seeing plastic bags floating on the Grand Union Canal, where she lives. 10 years later the Morsbag revolution has thousands of pods worldwide where volunteers make bags to give away.

 

Lynda from Bude Baggers made these beauties!

How difficult is it to make a morsbag?

The website has instructions and a great video that show you how to make a bag that is strong enough to hold heavy shopping like beans and wine.  The bag design is simple, strong and does not need a zig zag stitch. It is joy to see a design that is so economical on time and labour. It is very well thought out.

You can make a Morsbag for yourself but the point is really to join or start a pod to make as many as you can.  Morsbag sell labels and each bag with a label is counted and tallied up on the site.  I thought that the label sales would pay for hosting the site but they don’t, the cost only covers labels, postage and packaging.  Big Lottery Funding paid for the site itself but the owners pay for the hosting etc. from their own pockets.

 

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“It made perfect sense to me” How the Bude pod started

Back in 2007 Catherine saw Claire Morsman on BBC breakfast talking about starting Morsbags and it made perfect sense to her.
Catherine said:
“So I started making bags for my own use, then started giving them to friends and family. I worked as a solo bagmaker until I moved to Bude, when someone I met suggested I start a Facebook page, so I changed my pod name to Bude Baggers, started a page and got the first few members through a local beach cleaning group I’d joined, and it just went on from there. I never imagined it would grow into a pod of about 130 members, with a core of active members of about 20 – I started the pod in June 2014 and had my first bagmaking session with a few people on 22 July 2014 and since then the pod has made over 6,000 bags. We get our fabric from asking friends, from local charity shops that give us fabric in return for having bags from us, from people collecting for us, either as individuals or from organisations that have had bags. People collect their own fabric to use for bagmaking, when I first started the pod I had a central stash of fabric to distribute, but as the pod’s got bigger this wasn’t practical so now people get their own fabric. One of our members works for a hotel and when they redecorated and bought new bedlinen we had all the old stuff. We also got a ton of fabric from a nursing home that was doing the same.”

Where can you get a Morsbag?

If you are lucky enough to live near a pod that makes the bags you can find them being given away at supermarkets, farmers markets, local shops and even put through letterboxes. You cannot buy a Morsbag, it has to be given to you.

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If you want to start your own pod

All you need is a few people with sewing machines and some scrap fabric. You need to register the pod on the website which Catherine says is very easy and only takes a few minutes. Every time your pod makes bags you add them to the pod total and don’t forget the labels, you might want all the bagmakers to put a £1 into a pot at the bag making sessions to cover them. Then you get the fun of giving them out!

Find out more at www.morsbags.com

540 Morsbags made by Bude Baggers, ready to distribute

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