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Top 20 Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas for Your Friends and Family

We discussed sustainability and eco-friendliness many times before, emphasizing that we can teach such values at home or set a powerful personal example so that others can follow. Today, however, we will approach the matter of eco-friendliness from a different angle: the gifts you can and should offer to your friends and family who already embraced a green and eco-conscious lifestyle.

Why is it Important to Give Course to Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas for Your Eco-Aware Loved Ones?

It is a sign of respect for their values, life principles, and lifestyle choices. Moreover, offering eco-mindful presents to your dear ones will teach you a lot about this world. You may not know about huge or discrete issues regarding the current state of affairs in sustainability, and even if you do, you can always learn more.

Therefore, without further ado, let’s talk about our top picks of fun, practical, and thoughtful, eco-friendly gift ideas for you eco-conscious friends and family!

Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas for Women

No matter their age, status, or your relationship with them, the eco-conscious women in your life will always appreciate your eco-friendly gift ideas, no matter the occasion. Here are some of the best picks!

1. Cork Coasters for your Stain-Obsessed Friend

Women who care about etiquette and the preservation of their furniture will always slide a coaster under your coffee mug or wine glass, no matter the context. Most coasters come in paper or cardboard, but if you want to surprise her with an eco-friendly gift, present her with a set of cork coasters.

Cork is one of the most sustainable materials on the planet and a real revelation in many industries, so you cannot go wrong with them.

2. Potted Herbs and Spices for the Cooking Buff

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It would be unfair to men to assume that only women love to cook with fresh herbs and spices they cut and pick from their pots – look at Jamie Oliver – but our friends and colleagues insisted this would be a fantastic gift for a woman, no matter the occasion.

They say potted herbs and spices is one of those eco-friendly gift ideas that do not fail. If you plan such a gift soon, make sure you get the herbs your wife, friend, or family member enjoys the most. We did not mention this item on our guide to best Valentine’s Day gift ideas for your girlfriend, but you can put it on your list!

3. An Eco-Friendly Cosmetic Pouch for the Avid Traveler

We all know traveling in almost all its forms takes a significant toll on the environment, but people make genuine efforts to reduce their impact. In other words, if your friend or co-worker is a travel buff, an eco-friendly zippered cosmetic pouch (which can work as a day stylish clutch as well) is the best gift to surprise her with this year.

4. Recycled Polyester Beanie for the Fashionista in the House

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We have to admit that women know a bit more about ethical fashion, and the significant issues regarding the current textile industry. The eco-conscious ones also know plenty about the new fabrics and materials used in the sustainable fashion department, but you can surprise them still.

Meet an innovative winter accessory – yet another perfect Valentine’s Day gift: the recycled polyester beanie. You cannot tell the difference, and it will keep her warm while making her look like a style trendsetter. She will appreciate it.

5. Organic Cosmetics and Self Care Products for Any Woman

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Select such products from one of the dozens of brands that pledged their resources into offering quality without harming the environment.

Women with sensitive skin appreciate organic care and cosmetics, as the goods do not contain the common chemicals and preservatives. These products may be a bit expensive, but they are worth it, especially if you gift them to a woman actively fighting against the issues in the cosmetic industry (animal cruelty, the use of toxic dyes and chemicals, and many more).

6. A Set of Canvas Tote Bags for the Perpetual Grocery Shopper

She probably shops at the market or the organic department of the supermarket, but this does not matter – she needs reusable, resilient, and trustworthy shopping bags. A handful of heavy canvas tote bags with full gusset is the way to go in this case.

You can pick a few in different colors so she can use them for each type of fresh produce/grocery she buys. As we already said, shopping canvas tote bags represent one of the sustainability paths we can all take to make this world a better, healthier place.

7. The Stylish Jute Tote Bag for the Posh Professional

Speaking of canvas tote bags, you probably know many women wear them as casual purses – some of the trendiest eco-friendly approaches to fashion and accessories is to have one type of tote bag for each occasion. In other words, your mom, sister, or fiancé already has a unique collection of shopping cotton/canvas bags she uses on a daily basis.

What she may not have – and you can be of help here – is the latest and most luxurious sustainable purse a woman can wear: the large jute posh office handbag.

If you are a man and all you know about purses fits the back of a postal stamp, you need not worry: this bag is a dream came true for the professional lady who wants an excellent delicate and feminine look.

Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas for Men

Your friends and family members on the masculine side of life will also appreciate thoughtful, eco-friendly gift ideas on any occasion. So let’s see how you can make their birthdays or holidays better and more cheerful!

1. Canvas Sports Backpack for the Gym Buff

Is he always carrying his sports equipment in the car trunk? Or, better yet, is he spending his free time riding his bike towards the gym with a backpack full of gear? Then you cannot go wrong with a two-tone large heavy sports backpack to fit his needs and eco-friendly personality.

If you buddy will ask about the cleaning and the maintenance of a sports canvas backpack, tell him we have got him covered: here is our guide on how to clean a canvas bag!

Is he an outdoor buff who spends any given spare moment exploring nature? That is laudable, especially since we also have a guide on canvas bags’ waterproofing he might find useful as well!

2. A Bamboo Pen Holder for the Desk Geek

Some men love their organized desks – at work or at home. Surprise him with a stylish bamboo penholder to keep his favorite writing tools in one place and a sustainable manner. Bamboo is a highly durable material, used on a large scale in construction, furniture manufacturing, home and office décor, cooking, and even fashion.

If your father, brother, or best friend loves a composed, streamlined, and beautiful desk (as mess prevents him to focus), then the bamboo penholder is the best way to approach a gift-giving situation.

3. A Portable Power Bank for the Gadget Freak

Men and their gadgets, are we right? He is probably checking the battery of his phone as we speak or is in desperate need for an outlet to charge one of his numerous devices, so spare him of his troubles – and yours – and buy him a portable power bank. It is a thoughtful gift for any gadget buff, not only for the eco-conscious one who collects all the wasted batteries in the family to deliver them personally to the collection center.

4. Recycled Plastic Bottle Socks

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Socks make fabulous gifts for men in general – if you get the novelty ones with fun prints – but recycled plastic bottle socks are the new IT fashion item for eco-conscious guys out there. One of the best and most affordable eco-friendly gift ideas for men, these socks do not look or feel different from regular ones. On the contrary, they will make your buddy proud to become part of a more considerable sustainability effort.

5. An EcoSphere for the Nature Lover

In truth, this is more of a unisex gift, but consider it one of that individual and unique housewarming presents for the brother or the friend who just moved into his own house. EcoSpheres are self-sustainable miniature gardens. They do not need watering or maintenance. They beat potted flowers, especially in the case of men who do not have the time or skills to care for apartment plants.

6. A Reusable Metal Straw Set for the Cocktail Maker

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Don’t we all have a friend or a family member who plays bartender at all gatherings? He also probably has a wet bar in his apartment. Pique his interest in making even more cocktails for the whole gang with a reusable metal straw set (with cleaning brushes included) for great parties and no plastic!

7. Eco-Friendly Tie for the Executive

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Many fashion brands these days took the “green” path, providing clients with organic cotton items, eco-friendly packaging, and more. For your executive friend or father who spends his work hours running business meetings, an eco-friendly tie is the most thoughtful gift with any occasion.

For your geek friend, however, you can try a recycled paper handmade bowtie – they do exist, and they do look great as well!

Unisex Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas

Your eco-conscious friends and family members deserve the best. You have plenty of unisex eco-friendly gifts to consider in case you are in a hurry, you want everybody to receive the same thing, and you want to make everyone happy.

1. A Tree Adoption Certificate for Nature Lovers

A person who dedicates a significant part of his or her life advocating for the environment will be more than happy to receive a tree adoption certificate. A handful of major environmental organizations offer such papers, while some green brands go a step further and provide more than just a document, but organic products as well. Search online for the best offers and provide your friends or family members with the adoption certificate for a tree in the Amazonian forest or an olive tree in Italy.

2. An Animal Adoption Certificate

Implemented by the WWF, the program allows people all over the world to “adopt” (on paper) a wild animal to protect species and prevent the extinction of wildlife. A great venue, bringing people closer together in their ideals and efforts of wildlife conservation all over the globe.

This initiative will melt the hearts of your eco-friendly friends, even if some of them are already the symbolic parents of endangered animals. You cannot have too many baby orangutans in your care.

3. Orang Utan Coffee for Sophisticated Coffee Lovers

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Speaking about the gentle orange giants, a wonderful gift can also be the Orang Utan coffee. The organization sells certified ethical coffee and supports all vendors and brewers who demonstrate that their coffee businesses walk the green path.

The funds collected by Orang Utan via their commercial activities go to projects aimed to protect orangutans and implement sustainable and ethical coffee cultivation practices in threatened areas.

For all the coffee lovers in your group, this is one excellent choice to make – have a high-quality cup of java together and be confident that your efforts saved a baby orangutan from extinction.

4. Bamboo Cooking and Serving Utensils for Culinary Artists

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One of the best eco-friendly gift ideas for this year is a set of bamboo cooking and serving utensils. Men and women alike will appreciate the looks and practicality of such gift, especially if they are into cooking or throwing dinner parties for the family or group of friends.

Make things even more compelling for the receiver and add an organic cookbook next to the utensils for the ones who made extensive lifestyle changes and prefer the bio and green side of the culinary arts.

5. Countertop Compost Bin for the Recycling Buffs

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Do your friends, and family members say they want to compost but do not have the necessary means in their apartments? Now they do – thanks to you! A countertop compost bin is small and fits nicely in the kitchen, helping your eco-conscious friends or family to further their sustainability and recycling personal agendas.

6. Biodegradable Phone Case – Because Everybody Needs One

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Last on our best eco-friendly gift ideas for today is the biodegradable and compostable phone case. A relatively new concept, it has a huge potential of becoming the next best weapon in the global fight against plastic. Some brands are starting to sell such cases on larger and larger scales, and people are crazy about them. The items seem to be durable, resilient to the usual wear and tear, and ecologically disposable once you want to change it. Besides, who says no to a cute phone case?

Conclusion

We hope our list of eco-friendly gift ideas for your environmentally aware friends and family members gave you solid points of inspiration. Remember that any gift you decide to buy, it has to match the receiver’s values, tastes, hobbies, and personality. Other than that, happy gift shopping, and come back with your suggestions or tips regarding eco-friendly presents!

 

Written by Priscilla Greene — January 21, 2019

Top 11 Gifts: Valentine's Day Ideas for Girlfriend this Year

February is approaching fast and, if you want to make a memorable gesture, you need to start gathering Valentine’s Day ideas for girlfriend or wife as soon as possible. No matter if you are together for a month or for ten years, you have to consider all angles of V Day presents.

Of course, a cute, sweet, useful, and thoughtful gift will warm the heart of every woman – but she will know if you made an effort or grabbed the first box of chocolates that you saw at the gas station. Therefore, today we are here to offer you Valentine’s Day ideas for girlfriend, make sure you will get her the best present!

Valentine’s Day Ideas for Girlfriend, Wife, Fiancé, and Best Friend

In time, we have offered plenty of guides for men to buy the perfect presents for the dearest women in their lives. As a starting point, you can consult our selection of gift ideas for women who have everything.

However, Valentine’s Day has a certain sweet and mushy side to it – albeit not all women are crazy for waves of pink everything and cheesy love declarations.

Considering all these, your Valentine’s Day ideas for girlfriend should revolve around gifts that match her personality and views on the celebration, speak to her romantic or practical side and suit her tastes and needs.

Some women will sincerely tell you what they want – but there is no fun in that, is it? Why shouldn’t you surprise her, even with a symbolic small gift meant to put a smile on her face?

Therefore, let’s see together a list of Valentine’s Day ideas for girlfriend, wife, fiancé, or your best friend sure to warm their hearts!

1. His and Hers Promise Rings for your Future Bride

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As we all know, Valentine’s Day is a perfect day to plan a marriage proposal or at least a “promise” proposal. You have seen it in the movies time and again and, if your girlfriend does have that romantic side, you cannot go wrong with a pair of promise rings.

Pick something elegant that suits both of you – in terms of ring metal, design, and attitude towards making the relationship more official.

For George R. R. Martin fans, the geek-oriented couples, or for book lovers in general, the “Shekh Ma Shieraki Anni / Yer Jalan Atthirari Anni” pair of rings will make her feel like the promised princess.

Dothraki quoted rings are almost everywhere online and make an excellent gift with the final season of Game of Thrones scheduled for April.

2. A Unique Fashion Bag for the Bohemian Girlfriend

You rarely go wrong with bags and purses when it comes to women. This year, surprise your bohemian, nonconformist girlfriend with a fashion jute handbag to style up her office outfits. The large purse features hardwearing durability, a smooth texture, and detailed printing opportunity – in case you want to personalize the bag with a cute logo, her initials, or some other idea you want to discuss with the screen print service.

This purse’s nuance is the main attraction, as the refined and subtle blend of pink and cream works impeccably with your girlfriend’s or BFF’s nude shoes she wears with a passion.

The size of the purse is perfect for any woman in your life who always seems to carry around her entire house in her bag.

If jute (or, more specifically, the jute & cotton mix of this posh bag) makes you wonder, you should know that jute is eco-friendly and extremely resilient to wear and tear. In other words, it will meet the expectations of the eco-friendly girlfriend or wife and she will enjoy it for years to come.

3. Pearl Jewelry for Your Sophisticated Wife

Currently, pearls are even more popular than diamonds, and for all the right reasons: delicate, feminine, and versatile, they match any woman’s style, age, fashion tastes, and attitude towards life.

Pearl jewelry is one of the best Valentine’s Day ideas for girlfriend or wife. Specialists in pearl fashion recommend buying outstanding pearls – and colored to boot – in innovative and cheerful designs for young women.

For classy ladies in their thirties, sophisticated and statement-like pearl jewelry is the way to go. If a marriage proposal occupies your mind and soul for a while, know that you will never go wrong with a pearl engagement ring.

In any case, no matter you decide on a cute heart-shaped pearl pendant with a colorful gem or a pair of evening earrings in refined design, pearls are all the rage right now and you should take the opportunity.

4. A Deluxe Travel and Toiletry Kit for the Travel Buff

For the practical woman in your life who loves to travel by your side, a deluxe travel/toiletry kit in a fun design will help her streamline her packing efforts for your next adventure together. And spare you of the surprise of finding some of her personal care and cosmetic items “mysteriously misplaced” in your luggage.

If travel is your most beloved shared hobby, then take things a bit further, especially if you have a trip planned soon enough. Get a stylish new pair of rolling bags for you and her, or order customized luggage tags with your names on it.

5. The Extreme Chunky Blanket for the “Forever Cold” Girlfriend

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Help her snuggle any time she is cold (or just in the mood for some self-pampering) in an oversized, extremely chunky, warm, knitted blanket. Such blankets are trending high this year due to their massive look but great feel.

If your girl seems to be always cold from September to June and has a thing for spending her free time wrapped in layers of warmth and comfort, then this is the blanket for her.

Netflix-and-chill or reading her favorite book, it does not matter. She will never want to get out from under that blanket all winter long, so you will have to join her.

6. The Perfect Hoodie for the Lady always stealing your Sweatshirt

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Of course, she has clothes of her own (and quite the collection!), but your clothes always seem to be more comfortable, more suitable to her needs, more… “there” when she needs them.

One of the funniest, most practical, and sweetest Valentine’s Day ideas for girlfriend or wife this year is getting her one of those fluffy, warm, and cozy fleece hoodies or sweatshirts.

If you want to show her, you are on top of your game, pick a shade of pink as close to Pantone’s Living Coral Color of the Year as possible. She will appreciate your sense of fashion and your intentions to help her stay trendy even when it comes to loungewear.

Don’t keep your hopes up, though, as she will probably continue to wear your hoodies and steal your sweatshirts, just to prove she loves you!

7. Perfume for the No-Nonsense Soul Mate

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Sure, flowers and candy always make a good Valentine’s Day gift for the woman in your life, but if you have been together for long and she prefers a more down-to-Earth approach to gift giving, then you should go with perfume.

We are confident you already know what she likes and wears, so it should not be hard. Perfume is always a good idea because no woman will ever say she has too many perfume bottles on her shelf.

If you want to make things more interesting, put the perfume inside a small jute gift bag with clear window for a more stylish touch.

8. Chocolate and Flowers… but Different

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As we said, the easiest way out of Valentine’s Day is chocolates and roses. However, if you want to make a long lasting impression, get her one of those fruit flower bouquets, where the entire bouquet is edible.

A heart-shaped balloon or a thoughtful Valentine’s card will complete a unique and rather nonconformist V Day gift. Add a bottle of champagne to smooth things out and share an evening of romance and intimacy while you taste the chocolate-covered strawberries and refresh your senses with pineapple petals.

If your lady has a sweet tooth and appreciates more gourmet desserts than the generic flower bouquet, such a gift may be the perfect beginning of a memorable Valentine’s Day celebration in two.

9. Books and a Book Bag for the Bookworm in Your Life

What was that saying, date a woman who reads? Well, if your girlfriend, wife, or fiancé is a reading aficionado, then you know she never has enough books in her life.

Make sure you pick the books in the styles and genres she loves or is curious about – you should never offer some cheesy soft romance novel to a woman wondering why people consider Stephen King as a horror writer, as nothing scares her truly.

So give things a deep thought before you swipe your card at the bookstore. Moreover, in the vein of sweet and mindful Valentine’s Day ideas for a girlfriend who is a reading junkie, consider getting her a personalized book bag with a fun print on it and a cute bookmark, even though she remembers the exact pages of all book she is currently reading.

10. The Colossal Wine Glass for the Girl with a Sense of Humor and of Wine

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If you know your girlfriend or your wife likes to have a nice glass of wine after a hard day’s work, the colossal wine glass will appeal to her sense of humor. It will also become her favorite recipient every time you throw a house party – or when her parents come visiting.

Either way, a personalized colossal wine glass is a fun way to make fun of her or make sure she has enough wine (for the Valentine’s Day romantic home dinner you plan) so she does not drink yours.

For a memorable impression, you should also add her favorite brand of wine. A bottle of red vino in an elegant cotton muslin wine bag and some assorted craft chocolates is one of the best Valentine’s Day ideas for girlfriend you can have this year – easy, fun, romantic, and totally sharable.

11. A Romantic Vacation for Two

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This year, Valentine’s Day falls in a Thursday, so you should make plans for both of you to take two days off and have a four-day romantic trip or city break in a place you both want to visit.

You can pick any destination that suits your tastes, budget, and mobility needs and you can spend quality time together, just as you deserve. If you plan an adventure or a romantic getaway far from the madding crowd, don’t forget about a new set of rolling duffle bags for each of you.

Go for the fancy toiletry kit we mentioned above, as the second you offer to take her on a Valentine’s Day trip, the last thing on her mind will be her bags.

A word of wisdom, many couples prefer having a city break on Valentine’s Day, with the chance of getting a prolonged weekend, so you should start looking for accommodation and consider reservations starting today.

Conclusion

Valentine’s Day – according to some – became a bit too flashy and a bit too pink. This does not mean you should not celebrate love fully and unconditionally.

Finding the best Valentine’s Day ideas for girlfriend may be tricky. If the relationship is young, you might overdo things. If your partner knows you inside out, she will expect you to meet her needs and exceed her expectations.

Therefore, we hope this list of gift ideas gave you a starting point. If you are more of a man of action than a shopper, you may go the “plan an unforgettable event” route: take her to the opera, the fanciest restaurant in town, a romantic trip, or to her favorite place in the city.

If you enjoy shopping for the woman in your life, then feel free to get your inspiration from our list of ideas and share some of yours as well!

Written by Priscilla Greene — January 18, 2019

Bohemian Like You: 6 Types of Tote Bags Any Woman Should Have

In the fashion world, specialists talk plenty about the IT bag of the year or the number/models of must-have bags and purses a woman should have. If you are, however, one of those ladies who has a very soft spot for canvas/cotton tote bags and wears one for each occasion, this article is for you. We will not tell you how many tote bags to own (of the same model), but we will show you the six essential types of tote bags any modern woman should have, wear, and love!

1. The Almighty Canvas Shopping Tote Bag

Most women have at least three or four of these, as you need to use them with care – as we already mentioned in our complete guide on how to clean a canvas bag. Canvas shopping tote bags make an excellent eco-friendly alternative to plastic bags we use for grocery shopping and a more stylish choice than plastic or paper bags.

We suggest you begin your quest for the perfect canvas shopping bag with a heavy canvas tote bag with full gusset. Its size is perfect to carry small daily items or help you check your grocery list in one go. Take advantage of the side and bottom gussets for more space and durability and the handles making the bag easy to carry.

As you can quickly figure out, not all canvas shopping tote bags are the same, but you will find your favored one in no time. Make sure you do not carry meats and dairy products in the same one you bring home vegetables and bread for instance. We also recommend to properly pack all your groceries before you put them in the bag, to preserve its hygiene and your health.

2. The Cross Body Small Tote

Sometimes you do not need a huge bag to carry everything you have when you intend to be out only for a few hours. All women have days when they need a small cross-body canvas tote bag to grab and enjoy the freedom and style it offers.

Cross-body small totes are perfect for travels, leisure walks, casual outings, brunch dates with your girls, and more. When you want to carry only a phone, a wallet, and the sunglasses case, you cannot go wrong with small messenger canvas tote.

It works brilliantly when you are on vacation as well – pack it in the luggage and use it as a tourist purse when you explore a new city for instance. It can carry a bottle of water, your papers, phone, a snack, and more. It fits inside your airplane bag, and you can use it as a versatile accessory for all your short-term daily activities.

3. The Black Everyday Tote for All Purposes

A leather large office tote bag is a good acquisition for any woman, given the purse’s versatility. However, if you play in team “Eco-Friendliness,” you should go for the black heavy canvas zipper tote bag with long handles. This alternative to the classic shoulder bag or office bag will please even the most sophisticated of wearers.

As we know, the large black bag is and will be an IT and must-have item for women of all ages and all tastes. You can take it to the office, to school, and on more formal day outings, confident it will match any outfit and personal style.

Pick one of significant size, to carry your papers, personal items, gadgets, wallet, phone, and more. With stress-points reinforcements and durable fabric, the bag will last for years and carry few or many things, depending on your needs.

If a pitch-black bag does not fit your unique personality and you want to give it some buzz, you can always customize it with a logo, a monogram, a stylish print, and so on.

4. The Posh Jute Business Tote for Professional Looks

Jute is the fabric du jour when it comes to wearing eco-friendly fabrics and support ethical fashion principles. One of the most popular types of tote bags of the present, the natural jute bag features a sweet pink/cream nuance that goes amazingly well with your nude shoes – another trend that is here to stay and make women’s lives more comfortable and more elegant.

We suggest you start with a large and heavy jute/cotton fashion bag for formal office days and professional meetings. Even if you are not the type of woman matching her shoes with her purse, you will still be able to wear the jute bag with any outfit and in any color scheme.

Before you start creating a collection of jute tote bags for different needs and purposes, we recommend you read our complete guide on jute maintenance, to see how to preserve your fashionable items for years.

5. The Informal Multifunctional Purse for Any Occasion

You should not mistake this one for the universally loved black shoulder bag. A multifunctional purse for any occasion is a day bag that fits any purpose you can give it, with the added benefit of being informal in style, but multifunctional in purpose.

You can take a jolly two-tone heavy canvas zippered bag to work, to shopping, while going out for brunch with your girls, for a casual-chic outing, and more. Among all types of tote bags, this one offers you the reliability of heavy canvas and solid zippers, a casual-bohemian look, all the interior/exterior compartments you need for safe storage, and more.

If you want more inspiration regarding how to match tote bags with any outfit and for any occasion, check out our guides on how to wear tote bags and look chic and how to wear summer tote bags, respectively.

6. The Ultimate Beach Bag

Any woman should own at least a beach bag that is large, with zipper for more protection, and fun to wear at the seaside or the pool. We recommend the tri-color poly tote bag, as it is resilient to wear and tear, waterproof, sand-proof, and so chic, you will want one in every color combination for casual outings as well.

Conclusion

Women have many reasons to wear canvas tote bags for all occasions. Among the types of tote bags above, which are your favorite? Do you have at least one or two models of each or are you just expanding your collection as we speak? If you think about other types of tote bags, you think any woman should have, use our comments section for recommendations and ideas!

 

Written by Priscilla Greene — January 15, 2019

Next Year Predictions: 13 Best Tote Bags for Moms

printed bag

Being a mom isn’t easy, which is why us women with children need our accessories to be as versatile as possible. And what is more versatile than a tote bag? It can carry anything, from baby gear and toiletries to groceries and paperwork for the office. In this article, we will present and discuss the top 13 best tote bags for moms to wear in 2019.  

Top 13 Best Tote Bags for Moms

1.     Cool Mom Cotton Canvas Tote Bag

cool mom tote bag
Image Source: Pinterest

Are you a cool mom and you want everyone to know it? Every mom is awesome in her own way, and this tote bag is the ideal way to celebrate it. On top of that, people are bound to love or at least smirk at the hilarious Mean Girls reference. Amy Poehler is the world’s coolest mom after all, both in the beloved 2004 movie and real life.

As pictured above, the tote bag can hold a wide variety of items, from flowers to produce, as well as other essential items. The thick cloth it is made of is also an advantage in its favor, as it will not damage or break even with repeated use. This makes it accessible and environmentally friendly at the same time. In addition, its design is extra stylish.

2.     Royal Blue Heavy Gusset Canvas Tote Bag

royal blue tote bag

 

Moms are always the superheroes of the family because they get everything done. Still, every superhero needs some tools to ease their job. Here is where the heavy gusset canvas tote bag in royal blue comes in. It is medium-sized and portable, yet sturdy enough to carry any amount of groceries, as well as your family’s daily necessities. 

What is more, the cloth the tote bag made of is properly reinforced at key stress points. This means that you will never have to deal with picking up foodstuff from the supermarket floor or clumsily gathering your child’s belongings in public. Choosing it in royal blue is a great way to add a touch of color to any outfit, but multiple other options are available as well.

3.     Oh Kale Yeah Market Tote Bag

printed tote bag

Image Source: Pinterest

 

Grocery shopping for the whole family can become fun when your tote bag is a pep talk in itself. Its opinion on fresh produce and healthy ingredients? Oh kale yeah! This chic little sack is one of the best tote bags for moms that aren’t afraid to embrace the humorous part of their full-time job caring for one or multiple little ones.

Going to the farmer’s market on a Sunday has never been funnier. Nevertheless, it can be used for so much more than that. It is spacious enough to fit just about anything, and its secure build will ensure that nothing spills while you’re running important errands. What is more, we’re loving the natural and forest green color combo on this one.

4.     Color Block Zippered Shopping Bag

zippered bag

 

If you want a tote bag that is multifunctional and durable, then polyester is your best friend. The zippered shopping bag with interior slip pocket has a spacious main zippered compartment that can hold any amount of shopping. Thus, it is the perfect supermarket run companion for a mother of two or more. Furthermore, it can hold quite a few gifts for your little ones as well.

As expected, the tote bag is available in multiple color options. Still, we can’t help but fawn over the color block black and red option. There’s just something about this edgy, yet timeless combination that definitely makes the tote bag seem like more than just a container to carry groceries around in.

5.     Lime Green Felt Day to Day Tote Bag

lime green felt day to day tote bag


Choosing a felt tote bag over classic canvas or cotton is a sure way to make a statement. What is more, this type of material is easy to decorate with patches and other personalized accessories in order to create a completely new and different piece. Thus, it is certainly one of the best tote bags for moms that are crafty and love handmade items.

If you want to stand out completely and irrevocably, we recommend the lime green color option for this item. This is quite a unique color for a tote bag, which means that your creative juices will definitely start flowing once you get to decorating. And you can even involve the kids! Embellishing mommy’s bag can be fun for the whole family.

6.     Mom Heart Burlap Tote Bag

mom heart burlap tote bag
Image Source: Pinterest

Nothing says, “I’m a mom and I love every second of it” than a functional burlap tote bag with the word “mom” painted on it, but with a heart instead of the “o”. It’s short and sweet enough to get the point across, and it looks adorable as well. Of course, it has functional advantages as well. For one, the strong woven handles will deal with any cargo you put inside.

And speaking of cargo, this tote bag is ideal for just about anything. Groceries? Sure. Kiddy essentials? You got it. You can even wear it to the next parent-teacher conference at your son or daughter’s school and let everyone know how much you love your little one. Or, if you are looking for a gift for your mom, it’s also a fantastic choice. 

7.     Minimalistic Burlap Tote Bag

burlap tote bag

 

While we’re on the topic of burlap bags, we have a suggestion for all the minimalistic mommies out there as well. The tote pictured above is made from a comfortable blend of 75% jute and 25% cotton (or Juco, if you want to get technical), which makes it both resilient and soft. And the handles are 100% cotton, which means that shoulder sores are out of the question.

The main appeal of this cute burlap bag lies in the fact that its insides are laminated with vinyl. Thus, unlike other options on this list, it is actually waterproofed. Your groceries or belongings will be safe even in the rain. Plus, if water, juice, baby formula, or whatever else spills on the inside, it won’t drip all the way home. The fact that it’s easy to clean is also an advantage.

8.     Colorful Beach Tote Bag

beach tote bag


Let’s face it, kids simply adore the seaside. Having some fun in the sun with your little ones is a great opportunity for them to get some exercise and vitamin D. Plus, anywhere you can kick back and read a book is a place worth going in our opinion. This colorful beach tote bag will fit everything you and your family need for the occasion faster than you can say “beach day”. 

Nevertheless, this versatile tote bag can carry more than just towels, sunscreen, and dry clothes. When you’re not going to the beach, it can easily be repurposed into something else entirely, such as a reusable grocery bag, or even a fashionable accessory for casual outfits. The options are endless, all you need is imagination.

9.     Mom Life Canvas Tote Bag

mom life canvas tote bag
Image Source: Pinterest

There’s no life like mom life. Hashtag mom life, hashtag blessed, hashtag one big happy family. Even if you’re not one for hashtags, you can’t deny this to be true. We’re loving totes with honest and straightforward messages for next year, and the “mom life” canvas bag is definitely one of them. In this way, the people you interact will surely know what you’re about.

As far as its characteristics go, it can pretty much be used for the same things most of the other canvas and cotton bags on this list can. What makes it stand out from the crowd is its design. Thus, if this is something that appeals to you, why not add it to your collection? It’s snazzy enough to let your one of a kind mom personality shine through.  

10. Vegan Leather Tote Bag

vegan leather tote bag
Image Source: Pinterest

Canvas or burlap bags might look stylish, but if you want to mix business and pleasure, vegan leather should be at the top of your list. Tote bags made from vegan leather or vinyl material were all the rage in 2018, and they will continue to be a casual favorite of stars in the year to come as well. Moreover, you can get them in virtually any color.

Are you a fan of neutrals, or an all-black type of woman? Do you enjoy bold colors from time to time? Regardless of what your answer might be, this is the ideal alternative for you. If it’s good enough for world-famous moms such as Kylie Jenner or Kim Kardashian West, it’s good enough for us. And just think about how your daughter will want to borrow it when she grows up.

11. Natural Canvas Messenger Tote Bag

canvas tote bag

 

At the end of the day, tote bags aren’t meant for groceries only. Many moms nowadays work as well as care for their family, which is a laudable achievement in itself. If this is your situation, why not make it easier with the right bag? The large canvas messenger tote bag is ideal for holding both office documents and textbooks or schoolwork alike.

Thus, you can easily stop by the bookstore to get back to school supplies before arriving at work. Some groceries fit in it as well due to its hefty size. Still, it remains ergonomic and transportable, which a huge part of its appeal. Plus, if any of your kids are high school age, they might even borrow it from time to time. And let’s be honest here, there’s no higher form of flattery.

12.     Mommy Est. 2019 Tote Bag

printed tote bag

Image Source: Pinterest

This entry in our article is dedicated to future mommies in particular. Are you expecting a baby in 2019? Then the “mommy est. 2019” is the perfect multifunctional accessory for you. Worried all your coveted baby essentials won’t fit into a regular grocery bag? No problem! Bring your tote along, and you won’t ever have to refrain yourself from purchasing them.

The delicate flower design painted on the canvas completes the theme of the bag beautifully. And when the baby comes (congrats in advance), you don’t have to discard it. The tote can be kept as a fond memory, and even reused for other purposes. If you like to get crafty, we recommend sewing it into a quilt.

13.     Tote Bag for Moms Handmade by Kids

diy rainbow tote bag
Image Source: Pinterest

Finally, we’d like to conclude our top 13 list of the best tote bags for moms with a fun project. As previously discussed, involving your kids in the decoration of your tote bag is a great way to get everyone involved in the fun. Why not take the whole thing up a notch and let them design it from scratch?

Start with a plain canvas tote bag in a neutral color (and buy them in bulk, because boo-boos are inevitable), then allow their vivid imaginations to roam free. The image we chose depicts an adorable rainbow and clouds design made out of felt and pompoms, but the options are endless. What do your kids enjoy doing as far as arts and crafts are concerned?

If you’re unsure of how to go about this, buy them some finger paints and let them experiment with colors and patterns. You might be surprised to find out you have had a tiny artist in the family all along. This idea works even better around Mother’s Day, but it is a viable alternative all year round. You just need to take the initiative for it.

Conclusion

The best tote bags for moms out there deserve their name due to the fact that they are both practical and fashionable. The list presented above contains a wide array of styles to suit every single woman and her personality while catering to next year’s trends at the same time. Being a cool mom has never been more effortless.

Written by Priscilla Greene — December 24, 2018

9 Winter Wedding Favor Ideas to Impress Your Guests

printed bag

 

Have you been dreaming of an enchanted winter wedding and your wish finally came true? There’s a reason why celebrities such as Kate Winslet, Sofia Vergara, or Benedict Cumberbatch chose this time of year to tie the knot. There’s just something irrevocably magical about it. Here are nine winter wedding favor ideas that will add the finishing touches on your special day.

Top 11 Winter Wedding Favor Ideas

1.     Personalized Coffee Brew

printed burlap pouch
Image Source: Pinterest

Winter and hot beverages go hand in hand, so why not treat your wedding guests to an assorted blend of coffee? Fill a medium-sized burlap pouch with your favorite variety, or create a personalized blend together with your future husband for added pizzazz.

Don’t worry if you’re not a coffee enthusiast. You can fill the burlap pouch with any other hot beverage you want, be it tea or hot cocoa. In the image above, the happy couple put a label with a fun and romantic message on the bag as well, which is definitely a nice touch. 

2.     A Basket of Cozy Blankets

cozy blankets in wicker basket
Image Source: Pinterest

Are you looking for an unconventional wedding favor this winter? Put some cozy blankets in a wicker basket and let your guests have their pick. You can either choose different patterns and colorways for them, or play it safe and get multiple items with the same design.

In this way, you won’t be the only one snuggling up to their better half during the colder months of the year. Your guests don’t even have to be committed to enjoy this parting gift. Warm blankets can be shared with pets too!

3.     Gingerbread Bride and Groom

ginger bread groom and bride
Image Source: Pinterest

Gingerbread is the quintessential winter treat. Besides being utterly delicious, its sweet and spicy flavor complements the cold outside. Surprise your loved ones with bride and groom (or bride and bride, or groom and groom) cookies for a wedding favor idea that is both cute and tasty.

Personalize them to emulate each other’s wedding attire with sugary icing, wrap them in charming baggies, and watch the wonder on your guests’ faces when they see them. Being unique has never been this scrumptious.

4.     Comfy and Elegant Gloves

elegant gloves
Image Source: Pinterest

Practical seasonally-appropriate wedding favors are bound to be a hit at any winter wedding. And what better way to prepare your party for the snowy months ahead than with a pair of comfy and elegant gloves?

Choose a sensible assortment of colors so that the gloves suit any tastes. You can go for classic black, white, and grey as pictured above, or choose a nuptial color palette of pale dusty pink, eggshell white, and beige. Don’t go for extravagant hues unless they match the theme of the event.

5.     Mulled Wine Spices

mulled wine spices
Image Source: Pinterest

Looking for more winter wedding favor ideas that involve hot beverages? Alcohol is always the answer. Place an assortment of mulled wine and cider spices in a mini burlap pouch with a descriptive label on top as pictured above.

You get bonus points for choosing a burgundy-colored bag to match the beverage. Even if some members of your party aren’t drinkers, they can still use the blend to mull other wintery beverages. Examples include fruit punch, apple juice, and grape juice.

6.     Pine Cone Fire Starters

pine cone in box
Image Source: Pinterest

Did you know that dry pinecones are excellent fire starters? Nothing compares to the crackling and warmth of a fireplace on Christmas Eve, or even after that for that matter. Provide your wedding party with their very own starter kit for this.

Choose an appropriately sized cardboard box, and place the dry pinecone inside it. Labels with endearing plays upon words are always a welcome touch. The example above cleverly used the phrases “flame of love” and “let love warm your hearts”, so maybe something along those lines?

7.     Pine Tree Saplings

pine tree saplings
Image Source: Pinterest

The holiday season isn’t only the season to be jolly, but a time to spread kindness and joy to the world as well. Provoke your guests to do a good dead this Christmas by offering them pine tree saplings as a wedding favor.

Wrap the sapling snugly in a large burlap pouch, and attach a note to it as well. The more endearing it is, the better. In this way, you can contribute to the wellbeing of the environment and make a difference on your special day.

8.     Festive Glazed Fruits

festive glazed fruits
Image Source: Pinterest

Wintertime is all about being festive, and what’s merrier than themed decorations? For a sugary spin on classic Christmas designs, try offering glazed fruit as a wedding favor.

The image above depicts strawberries coated in the traditional holiday colors of red and green, but you can have as much fun with the concept as you want. Snowflakes made of icing, edible glitter, or even intricate landscapes work like a charm. Using wintery fruits such as plums can also add a celebratory twist.

9.     Mason Jar Cocktails

mason jar cocktails
Image Source: Pinterest

Putting together mason jar cocktails is another one of those winter wedding favor ideas that include alcohol in the mix in a fun and festive way. Jack and Coke is a classic you can’t go wrong with, but why not put out various options so that your guests can have their pick?

Our favorites include Bailey’s Irish Cream and coffee, vodka and cranberry juice, gin and tonic, or bourbon and chocolate liqueur for those members of your party who aren’t faint of heart. 

Conclusion

Any of the nine winter wedding favor ideas presented above can be a delectably thematic way to surprise your guests with a unique parting gift. Depending on the aesthetic of the ceremony and venue, you need to choose a wedding favor that suits the particular leitmotif you are aiming for. Attention to detail is important in such situations, but you already know that.

So, what winter wedding favor will you choose for your special day? 

Written by Priscilla Greene — December 21, 2018

How to Wash Burlap Tote Bags and Items: A Full Maintenance Guide

Jute is a sustainable, beautiful source we use to make plenty of homeware and fashion items. Just like canvas and cotton, burlap is versatile and increasingly present in our lives. But you surely wondered what to do with burlap tote bags, tablecloths, and even soft burlap drapery when they get dusty or dirty. Cleaning jute is a bit more difficult than maintaining canvas for instance, but it is not impossible. Today, we will learn together how to wash burlap and enjoy your beautiful items for years to come!

How to Wash Burlap: The Fabric’s Basics

Burlap is a rough and durable fabric made from jute. In the last years, it became trendy in the accessories industry (as burlap purses are trendy items to wear in summer) and in the packaging industry (gift/favor jute tote bags and seasonal Christmas jute socks being all the rage right now).

With their natural, neutral, and rustic look, burlap items are reusable and sustainable. In other words, it is essential to learn how to wash burlap and how to maintain our favorite tote bags, homeware, and accessories.

Burlap Cleaning Guide: Handwashing

Some burlap (also called hessian) pieces fare better if you wash them by hand. You have to pick them carefully, however, as handwashing goes best with small finished pieces (tote bags, jute sacks, pillowcases, and more). It is how you should wash burlap by hand:

  • Fill a sink or basin with cold water. Make sure you do not use hot water as it may lead to the fabric’s shrinking;
  • Add a small amount of mild detergent. You should use a liquid variety to avoid deposits;
  • Leave the burlap item in the basin for five Watch out the fabric to make sure it does not fray or come apart;
  • Stir the material with your hands gently;
  • Rinse the burlap item in the sink under running cold water, making sure you do not twist or squeeze the cloth;
  • When you take the burlap item out of the basin, make sure you do not wring it – it may cause damages to the structure, together with creases. You can gently haul the excess water.

Stain Removal

Just as we presented a while ago when we discussed canvas tote bags’ cleaning, you should remove stains and spots before you begin the handwashing process.

  • Use a wet sponge to blot the stain away (do not rub) and remove excess moisture with the help of a dry towel.
  • If you have to deal with difficult stains, you can use an oxygen-based stain remover; be gently and test the product on the inside of the tote bag to see how the fabric behaves in the presence of the substance. If everything goes well, you can leave the oxy stain remover to do its job for a few minutes. Rinse with a wet towel the excess substance and then proceed to handwash the burlap item as we presented earlier.
  • Use a mixture of soda and water to remove stains. Apply a layer of paste made of baking soda and water on the stain and leave it a few minutes.

Odor Removal

Baking soda is also a useful ally when you want to remove odors from your burlap shopping bags and other items. Here is what you need to do in case your jute shopping tote bag caught some unpleasant smell due to heavy wear:

  • Fill a spray bottle water and dissolve baking soda in it;
  • Take the burlap item outside (your apartment balcony should work just fine) and spray the tote bag or tablecloth with the mix; leave the purse to aerate for a few hours, then turn it inside out and spray again. The best strategy is to remove odors and stains with baking soda when the outside air is warm, and the sun can dry the burlap bag fast;
  • In case you have some stubborn odors to deal with, treat the burlap product with lemon juice (spray the fabric with lemon juice and let the product outside in fresh air to dry); you should not exaggerate with acidic treatments, however, as you risk damaging the fabric.
  • Let the burlap bag dry in fresh warm air to avoid the development of mildew; lay the product on a flat surface; you can also remove excess moisture by placing your burlap fashion bag in between two thick towels.

When it comes to using stain removers and other cleaning products with your burlap bags, tablecloths, Santa sacks or pillowcases, make sure you read the products’ labels. If the manufacturer offered specific instructions on cleaning and maintenance, make sure you follow them to a tee.

Drying

Hand-washed burlap items need to dry carefully to avoid unpleasant odors, mildew, or even mold. You should not tumble dry your burlap items. Here are some suggestions:

  • The best drying method is leaving the burlap product dry on a flat surface while it benefits from fresh warm air. The sun does wonders to preventing mold development; nevertheless, you should be careful, as sun overexposure can bleach the fabric.
  • You should dry large burlap purses with gusset, handles, interior cotton lining, zippers, and or hard bottoms on a flat surface and make sure they are standing and preserving their original shape.

Burlap Cleaning Guide: Machine Washing

Since the machine wash is rougher than handwashing, you should put in the machine only the burlap items you are confident will preserve their integrity and structure. In other words, wash only large, heavy, and durable burlap pieces. If you want to learn how to wash burlap, bags and other non-delicate products in the washing machine (tablecloths, burlap upholstery or heavy-duty jute items), here are some expert suggestions to consider:

  • Use cold water and a short program dedicated to delicate fabrics;
  • Do not use a wring program; haul the item to remove excess moisture and dry outside, in the fresh

Specialists do not recommend the machine-washing of small and delicate burlap items because the products can shrink, disintegrate, or accumulate large amounts of lint. However, if you program the load carefully and you do not mix your jute items with other clothes, the outcome should be great.

Burlap Maintenance

Before we end this guide on how to wash burlap, we promised a few maintenance tips and tricks:

  • If you want to iron a burlap tablecloth, upholstery, or drapery, you should iron while damp;
  • For your burlap tote bags to preserve their original shape and structure, insert a cardboard box, some sheets, or tube inside the bag to help it keep its form;
  • Store all your burlap tote bags and items in places that benefit from fresh air flow to avoid mold and mildew; unfortunately, burlap is susceptible to odors, so you should not store your burlap tote bags or other items together with odor-emitting products.

Conclusion

We hope this guide on how to wash burlap tote bags and items was useful to you and you will enjoy your sustainable, reusable fashion items for many years! Don’t forget to ask us for more information and details in case you still need help with burlap/jute maintenance!

 

 

Written by Priscilla Greene — December 17, 2018

Top Facts about Recycling Plastic Bags and Other Environmental Issues You Should Know

With the holidays shopping frenzy approaching fast, we all need to pause and take stock of our real impact upon this rock we call “home.” We discussed environmental issues plenty of times before, but now, with the year 2018 approaching its end, we have to find the time for awareness in between two spending rounds. Today we will discuss top facts about recycling plastic bags – the absolute trademark of holiday shopping – while touching other environmental issues we should take with us in the upcoming year to give them the necessary attention.

Why are Plastic Bags Such a Huge Problem?

As we mentioned on a previous occasion when talking about the environmental impact of reusable grocery bags, in the U.S., the population uses around 400 billion plastic bags and wraps annually. The average spikes during the holidays, as you can easily imagine. In between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, the American waste disposal increased by 25%, with a vast majority of this waste being plastic.

Also, we all have to allow some facts and pieces to information to sink in before we embark on our next grocery or gift-shopping spree. Here are some facts about recycling plastic bags and their use we should all know:

  • On a global level, humankind uses around 160,000 plastic bags every second. Every year, the world uses trillions of plastic bags, which, unfortunately, end up in landfills and in oceans in their vast majority;
  • To cover humanity’s need for plastic bags, manufacturers produce around 5 trillion plastic bags each year.
  • Americans use around 102 billion plastic bags each year.
  • Besides the fact that you can circle the Earth a few times if you put all these bags side by side, you need to understand that in the United States only 10% of all plastic bags end up in recycling plants. It is the good news, as a few years back, we managed to recycle only 1-3% of all the plastic bags we used;
  • One of the most critical issues with the production, consumption, and waste of plastic bags is that they consume resources. In some parts of the world, we make plastic bags from oil (which is not a renewable resource), in the U.S. we make a large part of plastic bags from natural gas (which we could use for other purposes) and other chemicals – no matter how we make them, they waste energy and money, while being toxic for the environment.

Harming Our Planet has to stop

Life in plastic is not fantastic – not for marine life, anyway. To date, humanity has a few unforgivable curses to atone for:

  • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch – unforgivable and almost impossible to believe that an intelligent species could allow such environmental catastrophe to occur. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch surpassed Texas in size twice and made mostly of plastic. If there is a reminder that we are not as smart and evolved as we like to believe, the floating landfill of garbage in the Pacific is the one.
  • The plastic we throw away every year and ending up in our seas and oceans can kill around 1,000,000 marine creatures. Moreover, we face some tragic perspectives as well: according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, by 2050 we will less fish than plastic waste (if we do not do something soon). More alarmist researchers warn that by 2020, the amount of plastic in the oceans will increase ten times.
  • According to the International Coastal Cleanup, plastic bags the second most frequent type of waste found in coastal cleanup operations. Back in 2009, 1 in 10 waste products was a plastic bag. A decade later, we still have to solve the problem of overusing plastic bags.
  • A 2015 study from UC Santa Barbara warned us that our oceans receive about 8 million metric tons of plastic. If you ever saw a whale dying from ingesting too many plastic bags (it naturally mistakes for food) or a turtle entangled in plastic until it suffocates, such moments became the necessary wake-up calls we needed.

However, to avoid fearmongering and guilt trips, we have to praise the fantastic efforts we as a species also made to fix what we broke. In truth, the plastic bags problems of today seem more manageable, as more and more voices raise and more and more projects take off to help us gain a different perspective on plastic bags use and recycling.

Facts about Recycling Plastic Bags You did not know until Now

When we have to answer the problem of plastic bags use, we know what the best approach is: recycling. In truth, we do recycle more plastic bags and plastic items in general than we did a decade ago. Here are some things you need to contemplate to restore your faith:

  • Plastic bags recycling is a relatively new industry. While we know how to recycle plastic lids and caps and other plastic items, the recycling of flimsy plastic shopping bags took wings only a few years ago. The good news is that it is an increasing field.
  • More and more countries, corporations, and non-profit organizations support the ban on plastic bags’ use in supermarkets and stores. Many retailers are also implementing plastic bag recycling programs. In fact, according to the Society of Plastic Engineers, we now have more than 18,000 stores with individual bins throughout the U.S. that gather plastic bags, wraps, and film to recycle them. These store drop-off bins collect anything from groceries bags to bread, food storage, dry cleaning, shipping pillows and plastic wraps for beverage cases. In 2015, this system managed to recycle 1.2 billion pounds of bags and plastic wraps. An insignificant drop in the ocean, some say, but the system proved useful, and it inevitably
  • We have the technology to help us: now we use robots to sort plastic items at superhuman speeds, scanners recognizing logos and images on plastic pieces to sort them better, machines able to scrape off labels from bottles and lasers to identify different types of plastics and send each one to its specific recycling line.

The world makes, thus, essential steps into reducing the plastic pollution that threatens us.

Here are some facts and figures putting things in a more positive perspective:

  • In 2013, according to PlasticsEurope estimates, the world managed to recycle 7.7 million tons of plastics, including more than 3.5 million tons of post-industrial and post-consumer plastic waste originating in the U.S. By now, these numbers increased exponentially.
  • Data from this year are coming from the American Chemistry Council currently estimates that about 80% of American households have access to different plastic recycling programs.
  • As we said before, a growing number of businesses entertain the idea of biodegradable, compostable, or even edible packaging materials to replace plastic bags and wraps.

Recycling Plastic Bags versus Recycling Paper Bags

When we discuss top facts about recycling plastic bags, we have to remember that recycling is one of the three levels in waste prevention hierarchy: reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Reduction of the amount of plastic bags is one of the most visible and widespread projects on a global level. Reducing the amount of plastic bags means replacing them with other viable options. Contrary to popular belief, using plastic bags is a more eco-friendly option than paper ones.

It seems that plastic bags’ manufacturing requires 40% less energy paper bags’ production – according to the EPA.

Moreover, paper bag production seems to generate 70% more air pollution and 50% more air pollution in comparison to plastic bags.

Did you want facts about recycling plastic bags? Here is one: recycling plastic bags save 90% more energy than recycling paper bags.

While the debate is still hot when it comes to plastic bags versus paper bags, we have at least one type of carrier that covers all our environmental needs, and then some!

The Reusable Shopping Bag: The Answer to the Environmental Plastic Issue

Eco-friendly purses for everyday fashion and reusable “green” bags for all our shopping requirements come with very compelling selling points:

  • They are not likely to end up in oceans and landfills. People reuse their cotton/canvas shopping tote bags for years, then reuse them by giving them entirely new purposes;
  • It is true that you have to use a canvas shopping reusable tote bag for some 100-odd times to make it fully sustainable, but this is an easy task. Imagine how many times you go shopping and return with plastic bags from the supermarket on a monthly basis. Then imagine you would use a jumbo-size shopping bag and see where the calculations take you. We experimented with the idea and resulted that we could make a shopping tote bag utterly sustainable in a bit over a year – and we never put our hands on a plastic bag during that period.
  • If you use burlap shopping tote bags, you will do the environment a huge favor, as the cultivation of jute in and out of itself is a sustainability measure in some parts of the world.

We have discussed the importance of using canvas and cotton shopping bags instead of plastic bags before. While not lacking their limitations (food leakage is one of the most important ones), reusable shopping bags make your environmental efforts come true: you can reuse them, and they are biodegradable. In comparison to plastic bags, cotton, canvas, and jute bags do not take around 500 years to disintegrate, and they do not break down in micro-particles that are equally harmful to our planet.

What to Do about Plastic Bags Recycling

As we said before, we are fixing what we broke. The world is indeed changing for the better, and each of us can offer a helping hand. We can all do more than expect governments, NGOs, and corporations to take matters into their hands.

Let’s see some other brilliant facts about recycling plastic bags and the contribution we can offer the world to make it a healthier home for the next generations!

1. Buy Recycled Plastic Items

It is unrealistic to believe we could remove all plastic from our lives forever. What we can do, on the other hand, is to give recycled plastic a chance. Let’s face it: what is the point of recycling plastic bags and other plastic products if we do not use them?

Some major players in the eco-industry are currently taking the plastic out from the oceans and into their plants. Then, they recycle the plastic bags and bottles for instance and turn them into products we can use on a regular basis.

Some consumer product companies and their eco-mindful customers enjoy recycled-plastic products such as high-performing sports shoes, sunglasses, luggage, pots and kitchenware, fashion items, garden furniture, and more.

When you recycle your plastic bags and expect something to return to you, consider buying such recycled plastic items and enjoy your contribution to a better world!

2. Reuse Your Plastic Items in DIY Projects

Unfortunately, not all plastic bags and wraps are created equal. You cannot recycle – in a professional setting – heavily painted plastic bags, cling covers, pre-packaged frozen foods bags, and plastic sheets with an adhesive surface.

Nevertheless, you can repurpose them by turning them into personal DIY projects.

  • Cut long strings of plastic bags, braid them, and turn them into waterproof plastic colorful covers for your outdoor furniture;
  • Use a crochet needle to convert strips of hard plastic bags into flower pots;
  • Glue and plastic braid sheets and cut strips to make outdoor taps covers and insulation against cold temperatures in winter;
  • Use plastic bags to cover your car’s windshield; cover your wing-mirrors and windscreen wipers in plastic bags to save you time and effort with ice scraping every winter morning;
  • Make a clothes’ bag from multiple plastic bags to protect your coats and outfits from moths or humidity all year long;
  • Make rugs from plastic straps for outdoor spaces – and even for your bathroom;
  • Think about all your creative arts and crafts projects and turn plastic bags into flowers, pom-poms, Christmas decorations, and even wall art.

3. Teach Your Children to Think and Behave Eco-Friendly

Teaching sustainability at home is crucial for our children’s future. While we as adults make tremendous efforts to clean the world of plastic and reduce our environmental impact for our kids’ sake, it is equally essential to educate children into becoming more eco-friendly in their turn.

Besides explaining them the top facts about recycling plastic bags – and you can begin this holiday season while shopping – it is also vital for them to understand that everything we do has an impact upon our planet. Teach them about responsibility – this comes first. Then, introduce them to the principles of reusability, recycling, reducing waste, and keeping things simpler and safer for everyone.

If you do not know how and where to start, let’s remember together our guide on how to spend an eco-friendly Christmas this year. If you present it as a fun game to play in the family, your children will cheer you for your imagination. Next thing you know, they will teach you facts about recycling plastic bags, sorting plastic household items, and making all sorts of useful items out of recycled products. Just give them the chance to surprise you and improve their world!

Written by Priscilla Greene — December 14, 2018

Easy Screen Print Guide: DIY Screen Printing vs. Professional Services

Screen print is a millenary printing technique seemingly originating from Polynesia. The screen print first appeared in a recognizable form in China during the Song Dynasty and arrived in Western Europe from Asia sometime in the late 18th century. However, it became popular much later, when silk mesh became more available for trade from the East and a more profitable outlet for the newly discovered medium.

Beginners’ Guide for Screen Printing

In this beginners’ guide for screen printing, we will look at this process from two points of view: the DIY approach, where we will teach you how to screen print a tote bag at home and the professional methodology, where we will present you with the secrets of the trade.

We dedicate the next easy screen print guide to all those who want to style their tote bags or clothes (do not forget that T-shirt screen printing is all the rage right now in both personal fashion and corporate marketing). To help you understand better all you need to know about screen printing in the DIY screen printing at home paradigm, let’s watch this video together!

 How to Screen Print a Canvas Tote Bag at Home

This easy screen print guide for DIY screen printing tote bag consists of multiple easy-to-follow steps. We will discuss each of them to make things work smoothly for you. Since the winter holidays are close by, DIY screen printing may be the best idea you had regarding personalized Christmas gifts for your friends or family members. It makes a memorable impression the screen-printed tote bag that functions as a gift bag for another thoughtful holiday gift as well.

Start by picking a handful of high-quality canvas tote bags and get creative with your designs, or Merry Christmas wishes or fun messages, and other custom-made combinations of drawings and words.

Step 1

Like the video tutorial presents, the first step you need to complete is the creation of a design print onto acetate.

  • Printing on an acetate sheet offers you the transparency you need to go on further with your custom screen printing at home.

Supplies:

  • A computer, of course;
  • A file to print on the acetate sheet – it can be a drawing, a phrase, a logo, or any fun message you want to convey on a canvas tote bag;
  • A functional printer;
  • Acetate sheets you can buy online or from all big stationery stores.

In short, you need to use the printer to transfer the design onto the acetate sheet. If you ever printed a sheet of paper with words for school or work, this step will not give you any trouble.

  • However, if you want your DIY screen printing efforts to yield the best results, our screen printing specialists recommend you set the printer on “photo quality” if your equipment allows.
  • Moreover, to save time and prevent errors, make sure you place the coated, rough side of the acetate sheet correctly on your printer tray. The positioning depends on the type of printer you have.
  • Get acetate sheets for your type of printer; inkjet printers require inkjet sheets, while laser printers work best with their specific acetate counterparts;
  • When you obtain the printed sheet, let it dry for a few minutes; in other words, do not touch it until it is thoroughly

Step 2

This step requires some supplies and some skills, but our easy screen print guide is here to help you with everything you need.

Supplies:

  • A screen;
  • Emulsion;
  • Gloves;
  • Scoop coater;
  • A stick for stirring.

Let’s make things more explicit here, as you need to understand what you need to get and how to use your supplies.

  • In screen printing, when we mention the screen, we refer to a particular screen printing mesh or silk; you can buy such item from online stores or other specialized shops; remember to get the mesh together with a wood/aluminum screen printing frame; usually, supply shops offer both items.

The discussion about screen printing emulsion is long. However, you need to know that the industry – and DIY screen printing aficionados – talk about three main types of emulsion you can use:

  • Diazo emulsions (called this way because of their benzene diazonium content) require you to mix by hand the photosensitizer with the resins. They also need more extended exposure to light to cure fully. While they are the most affordable option, Diazo emulsions do not work great for very refined details on prints.
  • SBQ-based emulsions (containing Styryl Basolium Quaternary) require no mixing, as the ingredients come together in the jar/tube. When you expose them to light, they cure in a matter of seconds. They are an excellent choice for detailed prints, and you can add multiple coats and layers to create a thicker stencil. In comparison to Diazo emulsions, they sit at the opposite end of the price scale – being the most expensive.
  • Dual-cure emulsions (comprising of both Diazo and SBQ) require mixing, while their curing time falls somewhat in the middle between Diazo’s time and SBQ’s time. Such emulsions are affordable and create a thicker stencil you can use for detailed work.

You noticed we spoke about exposure to light a lot and it is time to explain to you how emulsions work. When UV light makes contact with the emulsion on your screen, the emulsion hardens and becomes one with the screen.

  • As you noticed from the video above, you will also need a scoop coater, a tool that allows you to apply the emulsion properly onto the screen; you can buy it from online retailers or specialized shops selling DIY screen printing at home supplies.

Method

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and in this case, the video above is self-explanatory. Nevertheless, in case you do not want to miss any detail, here are the main points to remember during this step:

  • Make sure you mix the emulsion well if you bought a variety requiring manual stirring; use the stick and make sure you wear the gloves at all times; many use plastic household gloves, but if you want to preserve your sense of touch at its maximum potential, we also recommend you try surgical gloves from the pharmacy;
  • Fill the scoop coater with emulsion using a spoon; always keep a cloth around to wipe and remove the excess emulsion from the scoop;
  • Apply the layer (or layers) of the emulsion smoothly, to cover the screen in only one move; depending on your emulsion and the design you want to print, add another coating of an emulsion according to your needs;
  • Just as the video recommends, let the screen dry overnight.

Step 3

Now the time has come for you to “burn” the design onto the screen. Time will vary here as this particular stage depends on the type of emulsion you chose to use. Let’s see what happens during this step!

Supplies

  • You need the acetate sheet you printed a day before;
  • A clear tape roll;
  • A UV exposure unit; you can buy such a piece of equipment from an online retailer, or you can make one by following the American Screen Printing Association’s guide. If you want our personal opinion on the matter, you should buy a unit from a reliable vendor. Albeit fun, the building process of a unit takes time, effort, and money, extending your DIY screen printing tote bag project by weeks if not months. If you are building a business or you only want to screen print your tote bags and your t-shirts, invest in a high-quality UV exposure unit and achieve all your goals with no effort.

Method

  • Use the clear tape to hold fast the acetate sheet against the screen;
  • Put the ensemble in the UV light exposure unit and let it sit until the emulsion cures and the design burns onto the screen.

Step 4

It is time for some washing!

To reach the desired outcomes in this stage of your custom screen printing endeavor, you also need some supplies:

  • A pair of clean gloves (plastic or surgical);
  • Goggles;

Method

  • Place the screen against the wall on the rim of your bathtub; you may have a separate tub for this process and if you do, use it as you see in the video;
  • Set your shower head on a high-pressure position to wash the screen properly;
  • Wash until you reveal the design on the screen;
  • Let the screen dry; as we said in the video as well, the drying methods vary. If you have the opportunity, use a cabinet or a drying room with filtered air that flows continuously. The flow of filtered air prevents contamination and moisture saturation. Moreover, at the right temperature (not too high), the filtered air will help with drying in a uniform and safe manner.

Step 5

We finally reached the stage in your DIY screen printing adventure where you begin the actual screen printing.

Supplies

  • The plain canvas tote bag you want to print;
  • Cardboard sheets;
  • Packing tape;
  • A squeegee;
  • Wooden prop;
  • Palate knife;

Just as the video guide shows, the transfer of the design onto the tote bag is entirely stress-free, not to mention very fun for a DIY project. Here are some points to remember:

  • Apply the ink in an even layer;
  • Use the squeegee to obtain the design transfer in a smooth continuous movement and applying equal pressure from one end to the other of the screen.

Step 6

Use heat to fix the design against the canvas tote bag! Use one or two blow driers to set the layout and enjoy your newly DIY screen printed tote bag!

As you can see, while it takes some time and some investments, this beginners’ guide for screen printing is easy to follow, while the entire DIY screen printing at home can turn into a hobby and even business. Speaking about entrepreneurship, however, it is time to look at things from the professional perspective!

Screen Printing in a Professional Studio

In service provision environments, you may know screen printing under other names: serigraphy or silk printing, but you have to realize they all describe the same process. As a printing technique for mass production, screen printing works best for vibrant colors, and most studios perform it in bulk. You will notice that the DIY screen printing at home process does not differ much from the professional environment. Let’s learn how print specialists (ourselves included) can transfer your beautiful graphic designs, mottos and company logos on your tote bags and clothes!

Ink + Screen = Love and Screen Printing

As a technique, screen printing and the name of Andy Warhol go hand in hand in the United States, starting with the 60s. The famous artist made the style popular, and from that point on, the technique caught its wings. Few things have changed since then, however. What did change was the multitude of surfaces and fabrics you can print on nowadays. These types of surfaces come with few limitations. Now, let us delve in the mysteries and intricacies of the screen print process.

1. Get the orders as a vector file

If you have your design, make sure you create a vector file to send to the print shop. As you know, the vector file will always preserve the correct resolution of the image. If you do not have your design, talk to the printing company to help you select a drawing, illustration, text, or combination of words and pictures to add to your tote bag or t-shirt.

2. Send the files to the graphic designer

Once you sent the data to the graphic designer, you start your communication process with the art department. The print shop will send you a visual proof of your design to approve. The mockup shows you the approximate sizing and placement of your print, together with the inks and shirt/tote bags’ colors. The art department will make sure you are happy with the mockup (which reflects the result) and send you the pricing. When you sign on the project, the print shop will begin the screen print with the resizing and separations of colors.

3. Film Printing and Screen Burning

The print shop creates a screen for each of the colors in your design.

  • In comparison to your DIY screen printing at home, in a professional studio, the experts can work with more than one color. They will create a screen for each of the colors in your design.
  • Nobody says you cannot do it at home as well, but it is far more complicated than working with a single ink.

In the shop, the specialists coat all screens with emulsion – the same photosensitive solution you also used at home – and leave them to dry in the dark room.

  • They separate your design digitally into color partings, turning each color of your plan into its complete black image.
  • Next, they print the images by inkjet technology onto a clear acetate film (which, in the professional environment goes by the name of kodatrace). The emulsion liquid hardens when exposed to UV light.
  • They place the kodatrace featuring the final design onto the large exposure unit, put the coated screen on top of the model, and expose it to light for a specific amount of time – depending on the emulsion variety.

So far, the process does not differ substantially from the beginners guide for screen printing we just presented. The crucial change occurring in the studio lies within the use of professional/industrial equipment and supplies.

  • Just as it happens at home, the remaining unhardened emulsion burns into the screen.
  • Then, a power washer leaves the shape of each color separation as a stencil in its place.

4. Ink Preparation

One thing that changes the game so to speak in a professional screen printing studio (in comparison with a DIY screen printing at home project) is the ink preparation to obtain the exact colors of the design. As you can imagine, there is a base color and some primary colors. The print shop mixes the colors with care and attention. Let us see the details of the ink preparation method.

The ink bottles differ as follows:

  • The base: they use it for every color they use, as it helps all colors stay on the fabric.
  • Primary colors: white, violet, yellow.

Some companies can print up to six colors per design.

  • The specialists mix the base and primary colors to get the Pantone color codes. It is a laborious process, as even the smallest amount of color can completely change the result (even + - 1 gram can differ the overall outcome) for small amounts of colors on the design.
  • For more substantial amounts of color, inks in the mixture can be deviated by 1-2 grams without causing any harms.
  • In case you did not know, every bottle of ink costs around $100.
  • To add the correct colors, the specialists have to mix the color combination for at least four minutes.

5. The Screens’ Water Rinsing

The specialists carefully rinse the screens with water – the same thing you do, preferably in a basement or small bathroom in the house. The process leaves behind clear mesh to show the imprint of the design. Then they dry the screen and touch it up with the emulsion if needs are and then re-exposed to toughen the additional emulsion.

6. The Registering and Printing Process

Once the print shop has all the colors they need onto the screens, they register the image on press. It means that they line everything up to form the final image. It is the step where they use rubber squeegees to pull the ink through the stencils and onto the fabric.

Each printer must choose the appropriate squeegee durometer to achieve maximum print coverage. If it is too soft, the ink might squish over specific details. If it is too hard, the coverage might be more difficult to maintain. After they print each screen color on the product (shirt, towel, apron, tote bag, etc.), they dry it on the press with a heat flash. This way another color can go down on top of the image without inks blending in one with the other.

7. Product Curation

Once they printed all the colors on the product and they dried, they take the product off the press and send them to a conveyor belt oven. They set the temperature to activate the inks chemically so that they bond permanently to the canvas fibers. This process allows you to clean your canvas tote bag without the water-based print coming off. Some print shops use a laser thermometer gun to make sure the inks are getting up to the correct temperature to cure.

More Things to Know about the Professional Screen Print Process

Before we depart, you should know a few more things about the print screen process. Consider them secrets of the trade and information you need to have before you order your future printed shirts and bags:

  • The image on the clear acetate film goes onto the screen through an air vacuum technique.
  • Installing colors takes 3 hours approximately. Each of the legs of the machine has its color.
  • For better printing of dark colors, professional print shops heat the surface. This way, the colors do not mix.
  • In case you did not know, metallic colors are twice more expensive than standard colors are. You should keep this in mind for your future t-shirt screen printing at home or any other DIY screen printing project.
  • For non-woven fabrics, the print shop adds some additives. Non-woven products contain the most polyester fabric; this is why print shops need to be much more careful to print such products and pay attention to them, as they are very easy to burn. Take this as a suggestion for your DIY screen printing at home endeavor.
  • To wash out the extra colors, the print shops power wash the screens and let them dry in sunlight. You can try this at home as well, but you will get a better job done at home if you use filtered air.
  • Canvas tote bags are more expensive than t-shirts and more challenging to print. For this reason, you should consider getting all the supplies you need for a home in case you have big screen printing tote bag plans. Concerning bags’ printing difficulty, the easiest products to print are cotton tote bags, followed by burlap jute bags, with non-woven bags being the most difficult.
  • Because jute bags have a plastic interior, they need more attention during the printing process.

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed our beginners guide for screen printing at home and the details we offered on the professional screen printing process. If you have more questions or you want more information on the topic of easy screen print guide and ideas, feel free to ask us!

Written by Priscilla Greene — December 11, 2018

8 Reasons You Should Use Reusable Grocery Bags

8 Reasons You Should Use Reusable Grocery Bags 

When you’re getting ready to leave the grocery store, a commonly asked question in the checkout line is this: “Paper or plastic?”

Whichever way you respond, you probably have your reasons. Maybe you’re planning to recycle or reuse that paper bag, or maybe you use those plastic shopping bags for cleaning around the house. Maybe you think your choice, whether it’s paper or plastic, is the more environmentally friendly option. But in reality, whatever you’re choosing between paper and plastic, no matter your intentions, you’re still choosing “wrong” — because there’s a better option out there: a reusable grocery bag.

A growing movement around the country is for consumers to purchase and bring their own reusable bags to the store to use to carry their products home. While they cost a little more up front, there are many benefits of reusable bags, particularly when it comes to easing plastic bag pollution and the effects of plastic on the environment.

Just why are plastic bags bad for the environment? There are a number of reasons. From their production to their lack of recyclability to their tendency to end up in landfills — or worse, out of them — and the many years they take to decompose, plastic bags pose a lot of problems when it comes to the world’s well-being.

Paper bags avoid some of the pitfalls of plastic bags because paper bags can be recycled and take less time to decompose if they don’t make it to a landfill. Even so, paper bags are made either from trees, which are important to conserve, or from recycled material, which takes a lot of energy to produce, according to NASA.

Written by James F. — December 07, 2018

16 Eco-Friendly Products that Have a Positive Impact on the Environment

16 Eco-Friendly Products that Can Have a Positive Impact on the Environment

Making choices each day that help the environment may be easier than you think. Choosing to use environmentally friendly products can conserve the resources that are used to manufacture the items and can also help keep large amounts of trash out of landfills.

A good place to start this switch to green living is by identifying which things you use regularly that could easily be replaced by reusable items or eco-friendly products. Things like paper towels, disposable water bottles, and energy-inefficient light bulbs are all good options, but the more you look, they more you’ll see where eco-friendly products can be swapped in to replace what you’re already using, including eco-friendly kitchen products and rechargeable yard tools.

We’ve rounded up some great ideas for eco-friendly products that can help make a positive difference on the environment. Many of these items are reusable ones, which helps keep ordinarily single-use products out of landfills and also can save you money over time.

Ready to get started? Check out this list of eco-friendly products for the home and to use on the go.

  1. Cloth napkins — Even paper napkins have taken a backseat to paper towels in recent years, with many families in the United States abandoning their use altogether, and cloth napkins only being used on special occasions or holidays. However, eco-friendly cloth napkins are easy to clean and are reusable, and they are better at cleaning your skin than paper towels. Not only that, but it’s easy to go through many paper towels very quickly, and they add up in a flash to fill up your garbage can. And for what it’s worth, cloth napkins also have the added benefit of looking nice and dressing up the table at mealtime. Why not make every meal a special occasion, and help out the environment along the way, by swapping out your paper towels or paper napkins with cloth napkins?
  2. Reusable shopping bags — Plastic shopping bags are a huge problem when it comes to plastic waste pollution. Americans use between 500 million and 1 trillion plastic bags each year. They can take hundreds of years to break down in a landfill, and many don’t even make it to the landfill but instead end up causing havoc on marine wildlife and other animals. The bags are notoriously difficult to recycle and can jam recycling equipment at most recycling centers. 

Written by James F. — December 03, 2018

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