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Updated: Aug 25, 2023

The impact of plastic bags on the environment is significant and has become a major global issue. According to the United Nations, approximately 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are consumed each year globally, most ending up in landfills or polluting oceans and other natural environments.

Plastic bags can take hundreds of years to decompose. During this process, they release toxic chemicals into the environment and pose a threat to wildlife, as animals can become entangled in them or mistake them for food.

To reduce the impact of this man-made problem, international regulatory organizations like the European Union have settled rules to reduce the consumption of single-use market bags, such as forcing shops to charge for them or ensuring that reusable options are available for purchase.

Knitters to the rescue: handmade market bags to reduce plastic

Knitters have always been “makers,” people that love accomplishing with their hands, historically creating what was necessary for daily tasks. Therefore, with the rising threat of contamination and sustainability, knitters have become increasingly aware of the environmental impact of single-use plastic bags and other unsustainable materials. As a result, many have turned their creative talents towards a new endeavor: crafting their own market bags using eco-friendly materials.

Here I propose some pattern and yarn options to create your own stylish market bags.

The Grrlfriend Market bag

The Grrlfriend Market bag
© SugarBunnyBlvd

The Grrlfriend Market bag designed by Laura Spradling has the most projects on Ravelry. It is a free pattern knitted with 100-150 g of fingering, sport, or worsted yarn. The design is very flexible, so it accommodates a lot of groceries. I recommend you use a resistant cotton blend.

The French Market bag

The French Market bag
© PetiteKnit

The famous Danish designer PetiteKnit proposes the French Market bag as an alternative to tedious plastic. This complement is the perfect eclipse between a beach bag and a groceries bag. It is knitted with 950 m of strong lace cotton, but it would look amazing with rustic linen or cotton raffia.

The Boqueria Basket

The Boqueria Basket
© Vanessa Pellisa

If you are looking for a cottage-core vibe, I recommend the Boqueria basket by Vanessa Pellisa. Named after one of the oldest traditional markets in Barcelona, it’s a perfect complement for running small errands like buying bread, fresh veggies, or eggs from local producers. You will need 600-800 m of pure wool yarn. I recommend you use a felt needle to reinforce the base of the basket.


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