by Tammy Palmier 

Go green and crochet your own grocery tote out of reused plastic bags.

Click here for the crochet pattern. First collect around 80 plastic bags from your family and neighbors. I don’t recommend using thin produce bags. Recycle them or use them for something else.

Make plarn, yarn made out of reused plastic bags.

Click here for a detailed handout on how to make plarn. Recycle the bottom and handles cut from bag.

Keep it straight.

I find it’s best to only work with four or five loops at a time. For this project, we crochet with two separate yarns at one time so you have added strength.


Cut up a variety of bags. Put the loops in a paper bag and mix for a random look.

Flat Bottom

Chain 22 stitches. Once the chain stitches are finished, go back into the second to last stitch and start a single crochet stitch. Continue down the row until you get to the end. Add a chain stitch to keep it flat and start the next row. Repeat these steps until you make the width of the bottom of the bag, approximately 4”.

Going up the sides

Once the bottom is finished, add an extra single crochet stitch in each corner and the start making the sides.

Add the handles.

A variety of handles are possible depending upon the size of the bag. Two handles worked best for this size but one handle works for an over the shoulder bag.


Do the finishing stitches and you are ready to go shopping.

Variety is the spice of life.

Here are a few alternations of the pattern that MBG volunteers made to meet their individual style. To learn to crochet, take a class here at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Click here for details.