We were walking on South Venice beach in FL and my husband Tim's photo shows the beautiful calm Gulf waters alongside us. The sun was shining in a clear blue sky, and at the horizon it just seemed to melt into the turquoise water. It just seemed so clear, so calm, so perfect.
But further down the coast there were three plastic bottles washed up on the sand dunes, and a plastic bag wrapped around a twig. We have all seen something similar but after that perfect vision of sea and sky, it just seemed so jarring.
We didn't even have plastics when I was young. You purchased milk or soft drinks in a glass bottle and returned the bottles to the shop for a refund. You took your own bags to the greengrocers or the corner store, and covered foods in the larder with a damp cloth. Now, it's all plastic. Cling‐wrap to keep the food fresh, plastic bottles, plastic bags. And all of this in just a few decades.
However, I saw a statement the other day which struck a chord with me:
"Behind each and every piece of littered plastic debris there is a human face. At a critical decision point, someone, somewhere, mishandled it, either thoughtlessly or deliberately."
The water bottle someone left when they stopped to take a photo, the plastic bag that blew away as you were getting into the car, the fishing line you can see snagged around a rock. We've all made decisions about these things, haven't we. It's only one plastic bag after all and it's too hard to chase it, especially as the car is open and the baby's inside... It's depressingly easy to cause one more piece of plastic pollution.
Take plastic bags, for example. My mother or grandmother would use a string bag or basket for all their shopping, so that's what we can do too! Not that this will sort out all the issues of past pollution, but it's a way of at least reducing some future problems.
So, here's a resolution for this year's Earth Day: "No plastic bags for me!”
Let's make this the year in which no single plastic bag comes home with us! Instead, we can delight in knitting or making bags to make our shopping trips plastic free. Here are just a few ideas:
The first is Anna's Nokomis Beach Bag, a lovely pattern worked in Cascade 200 wool.
You can read more about this bag in my recent blogpost here.
Then next is the Sarasota Shopper. This is a lovely bright bag with a sturdy linen liner so is super strong and cute too!
This pattern can either be purchased on its own or as part of the Southampton Collection, which includes four other styles.
The BYOB ‐Bring Your Own Bag! is a bright striped mesh bag which is perfect for all those lighter‐weight or awkwardly shaped items that we need to carry home. The pattern includes four different sizes to choose from.
Please also click here for some more ideas for variations that can be worked from this pattern.
Then lastly, the BYOB Market Bag, a long‐handled bag with a tutorial series that you can follow along as you knit your bag.
This one can be worked as it is, or you could add a fabric liner in the same way as in the Weymouth Shoulder Bag which you can see here.
Happy Plastic‐free knitting!
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Top: Tim Ravenscroft, "Where the sky meets the sea, Venice Beach.”
Centre: Ferdi Rizkiyanto "What lies under”.
Earth Day, plastic pollution, plastic bags, bag, bags, shopping bag, market bag, tote bag, ecobag, knitted bag, mesh bag,