An Upcycled, Houston-Made Alternative to Single-Use Plastic Bags

Hi! I hope everyone is having a happy holiday season. 

Bag-Free Bayous is going to add an exciting new branch! We recently got a grant of a thousand dollars from the Pollination Project to employ refugee women to sew beautiful, reusable grocery bags from up-cycled materials. The women we are working with are from Community Cloth, a nonprofit dedicated to giving refugee women an income by sewing or knitting bags, clothing, and many other things. To make sure we produce minimal waste, we are using banner material that would've gone to the landfill, and old jeans. The money we make from selling the bags will go towards making more bags, which will create a cycle.

The process for making the bags has been really fun. We started by looking at different types of bag design online. We brainstormed about the elements that people like about bags. We even made a few of our own (very) novice bags, so we would get the feel of the project, hands on! We hammered out what we hoped for in the bags with Kayla, Community Cloth's project manager. We also gave her banner materials from ReUse warehouse, as well as some old jeans. Kayla delivered the materials and our ideas to Khatera, one of the groups most experienced seamstresses. She is originally from Afghanistan. A few weeks later, Kayla came back with Khatera's prototypes. We were amazed by the beauty of the bags. They looked like they belonged at a fancy store in the Galleria. We chose the best elements of each of the prototypes to come up with two solid designs.  

We are now in the next phase of the project. We are brainstorming and testing ways we can sell the bags. We will let you know when we figure it out.

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