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January 2012

Stretching the Imagination: What Are Your Zero Waste Innovations?

It’s a new year, and that means it’s time to get creative for thinking up new ways to use less—it’s kind of our thing. At Zero Waste Communities, we love discovering simple innovations that anyone can do to cut down their consumption or use their castoffs. So naturally, as we are in the midst of our Reusable Bag Campaign we were thrilled to come across Artechnica Inc.’s Stretch Bag. At first glance it might just look like a simple tote bag, but it’s special for two reasons:

First, as much as we like canvas over plastic, these vinyl bags are actually made from discarded billboards. What we love about that is how it transforms a product that usually tells us to consume into something that helps us conserve.  Artechnica’s not alone in this trend; and you can find other companies making bags from old advertisements as well.
But the second interesting thing about this Stretch Bag is not about what it’s made of, but how it’s made. By using a cleaver series of cuts, a single piece of reused vinyl is molded into a handled pouch that can hold just over 30 lbs, no glues, stitching or other parts required. The cuts and stretching aren’t only functional, but they make the bag beautiful by turning old images into abstract colors and geometric shapes. It’s so snazzy, in fact, that it was featured in the Pasadena Museum of California Art’s recent Design Biennial show, Action/Reaction, which highlighted outstanding sustainable art and design in California.

As great as this bag is, we’d like to see if our readers can do better! Post pictures of your zero waste inventions to our Facebook page, and we’ll feature your creations in a photo album on our Facebook page!