Rubbish Bags. My own Textile Design Work.

Here I have used the idea of  Reuse/Recycle/Repurpose which was described within my last lecture. I wanted to experiment with this idea and think of a textile/material that i could reuse/recycle that normally would damage the environment. This is how i came up with using plastic bags to create some textile designs that could have the potential to take forward into fashion/interior works.

• Over 1 trillion plastic bags are used every year worldwide. Consider China, a country of 1.3 billion, which consumes 3 billion plastic bags daily, according to China Trade News.
• About 1 million plastic bags are used every minute.
• A single plastic bag can take up to 1,000 years to degrade.
• More than 3.5 million tons of plastic bags, sacks and wraps were discarded in 2008.
• Only 1 in 200 plastic bags in the UK are recycled (BBC).
• The U.S. goes through 100 billion single-use plastic bags. This costs retailers about $4 billion a year.
• Plastic bags are the second-most common type of ocean refuse, after cigarette butts (2008)
• Plastic bags remain toxic even after they break down.
• Every square mile of ocean has about 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in it.

– Reuseit. 2015. FAST FACTS ON PLASTIC BAGS. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 01 January 15].

As you can see Plastic bags are causing some serious environmental issues .

The fact that they have an extremely slow decomposition rate leaves them to drift on the ocean for untold years. ‘According to Algalita Marine Research Foundation, these plastic bags cause the death of many marine animals (fish, sea turtles, etc.), every year when animals mistake them for food.’

Reuseit. 2015. FAST FACTS ON PLASTIC BAGS. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 01 January 15].

When plastics break down, they don’t biodegrade; they photodegrade. This means the materials break down to smaller fragments which readily soak up toxins. They then contaminate soil, waterways, and animals upon digestion.

Windblown plastic bags are so prevalent in Africa that a cottage industry has sprung up to harvest them. These are then woven and sold as hats and (more durable) bags.

‘The So Afr-Eco Community Upliftment Project was established ten years ago as Ms Kirkland explained to “take the hate out of the Zulu hearts and put the hope in.”‘

‘Each hat is made up of approximately 30 plastic bags which are cut into strips and woven together using a crochet hook.’

‘The project has not only helped to clean up the streets, but it has also helped to raise the women’s morale.’

‘”It has changed their lives. It has changed the way that they look at life, crime and Aids. I am getting these mothers to coach their children in the philosophies that I am teaching them.”‘

BBC NEWS. 2002. Rubbish bags pay rural women’s way. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 01 January 15].


Unknown, (2002), Rubbish bags pay rural women’s way [ONLINE]. Available at: [Accessed 01 January 15].


This gave me this idea to try using plastic bag within my own technique. To help reuse, recycle and repurpose the plastic bags.




I have cut out strips of the plastic bag using plain household scissors. I then heat pressed them using a iron.


It recycles the plastic bags making a sustainable technique through recycling reusing and re-purposing.


It does use some electricity from the iron to heat press therefore using some of the worlds resources to create these. When electricity is created for our day to day use. Most of the worlds electricity is made through coal or oil, which create harmful carbon dioxide for our ozone layer.


Therefore perhaps using a non-electrical technique that doesn’t cause pollution like knitting or weaving would be a better idea for the use of plastic bags.