How to Make Your Own Reusable Sandwich Bags

Plastic is a problem in the world today, especially single-use plastics. We all know that plastics do not decompose and that they clog our landfills and oceans. Companies are finally starting to phase out some of their single-use plastics, and people have come up with a long list of ways to reduce and reuse plastics. One common offender is the plastic shopping bag, but another is the plastic sandwich bag. We typically just toss them in the garbage after one use, but we have a better, more environmentally friendly option: reusable sandwich bags. You can easily make your own, and we are here to show you how.

The Impact of Single-Use Plastics

Perhaps you like the convenience of your plastic snack bags, but they really do not do any good for the environment. Besides, what are we going to do when there is so much plastic in the world that more and more animals—and even people—are dying? Most of the plastic that we have made still exists on the Earth today. Instead of decomposing, plastic only breaks down into smaller pieces of plastic, called microplastics. Studies show that microplastics have devastating results on fish: tumors, liver toxicity, and disrupted endocrine systems. The microplastics have even traveled through different organs to lodge themselves inside fishes’ brains.

Obviously, we are much bigger than fish and it would take a lot of microplastics to have a devastating effect on our bodies, but we are still ingesting it. One study found that microplastics fill our water bottles—even the ones not made of plastic. At the rate we are producing plastic, our children will have to clean up our mess and deal with the consequences.

Single-Use Plastics Alternatives

This is not a doomsday article, but we have to understand the gravity of the situation. This is why finding alternatives to single-use plastics is so important. People have come up with brilliant ideas too. One company started using the cassava root to make a faux plastic shopping bag, and others are opting for other, cheaper materials.

People use fabric bags for their shopping trips and use metal or glass straws for their drinks. Some companies even offer paper and actual straw for their straws, which are completely biodegradable. You can do the same thing with plastic sandwich and snack bags too.

Plastic Sandwich Bags Alternatives

When packing a lunch or snack, either for you or a child, there are several materials other than plastic that you can use. You can opt for a metal lunch box, a paper bag, or a fabric bag. When it comes to storing your food, metal and glass containers are a perfectly viable option. Did you know that you can also use fabric to make your own DIY reusable snack bags? You can and it is pretty easy to do. We have some great free snack bag patterns for you to try out. Depending on the fabric you use, you can make bags for both dry and wet snacks.

The Benefits of Making Your Own Reusable Cloth Snack Bags

We have already covered one of the biggest benefits of making your own reusable sandwich bags, but there are more. Trust us though; these are so much better than the plastic version.

  • They do not use single-use plastics, which prevents more plastic waste from going to our landfills.
  • They are environmentally friendly not only because you are using a material other than plastic, but because you are able to reuse them time and time again. You can either wash them or wipe them down after every use.
  • It will take much longer for cloth sandwich bags to wear out.
  • Reusable sandwich bags are easy on your wallet. Though you have to pay for all of the materials upfront, you will save more money in the long run. (Can you imagine never having to buy plastic Ziploc bags ever again?)
  • You only need minimal sewing skills to make your own reusable food bags. If you have absolutely no sewing skills, there is probably someone who could help you out.

With all of these benefits in mind, you need to know how to actually make them.

reusable sandwich bags, single-use plastics, DIY sandwich bags, homemade sandwich bags

Image Source: Pixabay

How to Make Reusable Sandwich Bags

There are several patterns for reusable sandwich bags on the internet, and when it really comes down to it, you can make them however you want. We just have a few free patterns that have been shared across other websites to help you out. These patterns will at least give you an idea or some direction when making your own.

What Materials You Need

Before you begin, make sure you have:

  • Fabric (You can use anything from cotton, laminated fabric, and much more for both the inside and outside of the homemade snack bag. Each kind will need a certain amount of care to keep it clean between uses. Be sure to use a material you know for sure is safe to come in contact with food.)
  • A sewing machine
  • Thread (Polyester thread is preferred because it resists moisture transfer and keeps your food from drying out.)
  • Sewing pins or bobby pins (Either one will secure your fabric well.)
  • Hook and loop tape/ Velcro (Velcro with a width of 3/4 of an inch to 1 inch work best.)

Instructions

  1. Cut two rectangles of your fabric that measure 7 1/2 inches wide by 16 1/2 inches long. Place the two pieces together so that the side you want showing is inside. (You will start sewing it so it is wrong-side-out.)
  2. Using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, sew three of the sides, leaving one of the short ends open.
  3. Turn the rectangle right-side-out. Fold the short edges in about 1/2 inch and topstitch to close the remaining short end.
  4. Use your fingers to press around the edges of the fabric. If your fabric can withstand heat, you can iron it.
  5. Cut a 6 inch long piece of Velcro and sew the hook side to the top of the rectangle. Use the side that does not have the topstitching.
  6. Sew the loop side on the opposite end of the rectangle, but sew it on the back, about 2 inches from the edge.
  7. Fold up the bottom of the rectangle so that both pieces of the hook and loop tape are facing up. The loop piece should be about 2 1/2 inches from the top edge (where the hook piece is sewn.
  8. Topstitch around the three sides of the of the snack bag, then fold down the top. Press the Velcro pieces together.

Believe it or not, but that is it! That is all you have to do to make your own reusable sandwich bags. Keep in mind that this is only one way to make this DIY project. For images of this pattern, click here.

An Alternate Pattern

For a thicker homemade snack bag, you will need two pieces of outer fabric that measure 8 3/4 inches by 7 1/4 and two pieces of inner or liner fabric with the same dimensions.

  1. Sew one of the outer pieces and one of the inner pieces together on one of the long sides, then repeat with the other outer and inner pieces. Stack the two units on top of each other so the fabric inner fabric faces out. (The reusable sandwich bag will be sewn inside-out first.)
  2. Sew around three of the edges, leaving a few inches on one side open. Use the opening to turn the bag right-side-out, then sew up the opening.
  3. Attach the hook and loop tape in a similar fashion to the first pattern, and you are done!
  4. There are even more patterns available, some of which you can view here.

Keep in mind that you are never confined to making just the same-sized reusable sandwich bags. You can alter the dimensions on the patterns available or make one all your own. One site shows some reusable snack bags with zippers, some with folded tops, some large enough to store your whole lunch, and some small enough for your toddler’s snack. Check out their website to be inspired as to how you can reduce plastic waste and make your own cute DIY bags.

Conclusion

Now that we have covered the plastic pollution problem in the world and what you can do about it, you are prepared to go out and make a difference! You can help the environment with cute, unique bags that you made yourself! You no longer have to hear kids complain that someone in their class has the same thing as them! Unless you start giving homemade sandwich bags away as gifts, which is also a great idea! When more people are reducing plastic waste, we make a bigger difference. Have fun picking out your unique fabrics and crafting! Being environmentally friendly does not have to be boring, so you might as well make it fun.

Image Source: Pixabay

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Lacey Jolley
 

I love exploring, experiencing new places, and eating good food! I'm amazed every day at how well the Earth provides for us, and I want to return the favor. I hope to help others learn how we can make our world a better, cleaner place.

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