About the Project
In 2009, the city
went in search of an alternative to plastic “special event” bags usually
distributed during special city held events. According to the
Environmental Protection Agency, more than 380 billion plastic bags are
used in the United States every year. Of those, approximately 100
billion are plastic shopping bags, which cost retailers about $4 billion
When researching an alternative style of bag for special event bags made from plastic, staff discovered an opportunity to produce bags using local skilled seamstresses and a ready supply of fabric generally destined for the landfill. This started Irving’s Green Seam Project.
Green Seam Materials and Bag Styles
The Green Seam Project takes fabric either donated by residents and quilters who generally have stored materials from previous sewing projects, by local commercial outlets who usually have outdated bolts of material, and t-shirts donated by screen printing shops and individuals. Together, the fabrics create unique, colorful, reusable shopping bags. Materials used to make the Green Seam bags are generally considered destined for the landfill.
Although there is an established bag style that each seamstress follows, each bag generally has its own unique design. For instance, periodically, a bag might be made using a man’s necktie as the handle. Or sometimes a seamstress might add a little fringe to a bag. Once finished, each bag is tagged with information regarding the project and benefits of using a reusable bag while shopping.
Reusable Shopping Bag Benefits
According to the "Wall Street Journal," the United States uses 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. An estimated 1 million barrels of oil is required to make that many plastic bags
Plastic bags are not biodegradable. They can exist on our planet for 1,000 years.
The "Wall Street Journal" notes that four to five reusable bags can replace 520 plastic bags a year.
Using one cloth reusable bag can save up to six plastic bags a week, which is 24 bags a month, which is 288 bags a year, and 22,176 bags in a lifetime.
Green Seam Project Involvement
Thank you to the many individuals and organizations that have been involved in the Green Seam Project: