Bring Your Reusable Grocery Bag On Your Head

A green hat with a grey zipper is partially opened revealing the grey mesh inside. It is held by two hands manipulating the zipper. The picture is inside a red circle overlaid on top of a tinted image of a workshop. A red line points to an image of a woman looking to the right wearing the green baseball cap.

After decades of taking plastic bags for granted, some places now charge for them to help offset some of the environmental damage they cause. If you have a tendency to forget your reusable bags at home but love to wear hats, [Simone Giertz] has the bag hat for you.

Having conquered everything from making the first Tesla pickup to a tambour puzzle table, a hat that can turn into a grocery bag seems like a relatively easy challenge. It was not. One thing that [Giertz] observes early in the process is that fabric is a much less “honest” material since it can move in ways that many of the other materials she works with cannot, like glass or wood.

As with any good project, there are numerous iterations of the bag hat, mostly due to trying to balance the two distinct functions of bag and hat without overly-compromising either. In the end, the hat features a zipper down the center from ear to ear that opens up into a mesh grocery bag. The adjustable loop of the hat does double duty as the bag handle.

If you’d like to build your own sewing machine for projects like this, maybe you should find out how they work. If you’d rather just get on with the sewing bit, we can help you with that too.

59 thoughts on “Bring Your Reusable Grocery Bag On Your Head

    1. This is my greatest gripe against the more rarified plastic bag. 2 dogs make lots of poops. That and grocery shopping in the rain or excessive heat with cold items sweating into the paper bag creating slow burn AFV fodder.

        1. I’m ok with outlawing disposable shopping bags that dont quickly decay to harmless substances, but priority one should be a rule that if you issue nasty bags they can’t frequently come with holes already in the bottom. That is, no single-use bags even for dog poop picker-uppers.

      1. Or on the sidewalk where the next person walks and steps into. I guess you don’t live in a more densely populated area, then. It’s fine, everyone has made different experiences. However, I would like my fellow humans to clean up after their pets. I also don’t just take a dump on the sidewalk…

      2. Drainage ditch vs sidewalk.

        If you live in a good place, you’ve got drainage ditches, so can just leave the fertilizer.

        Also a big enough dog pooping area (expressed in dogweight/landarea) so you can just let the hounds have a corner as shitter.
        Not like they shit a lot, compared to the horses.
        Is worse shit though, horseshit ++good in garden.

        Picking up dogshit is a ‘city people’ thing.
        Country people shovel out stalls.

        Yet another reason to avoid cities.

        Laugh at the city people trying to start their first fire at 25!
        Sometimes they really succeed.

    2. It’s funny because I buy rolls of bags designed for cleaning up after your dog, but I don’t have a dog. I use them for tons of things, like disposing paint brushes, or a piece of cardboard I used with still wet epoxy, etc.

      1. This is not a criticism of your comment, just an observation that I have made.
        I bought a bag of 8 or 10 doggy poop bags at a Dollar store, (back when they were really a dollar). Every poop bag was insufficiently welded at the perforations, basically useless.

      1. +10 and the fractional cent bags of fractional gram petro don’t damage anything if you don’t throw them into rivers and ocean, which no one does in the places where people worry about the bags. The laws on bags fail to include any metric to measure if it made any difference.

      2. Of course you can.
        Pay some bum to pickup bags.
        A quarter each should get them for you.
        Don’t do it in my neighborhood.
        Rather next to mayors house.

        Garbage is fungible.

        The problem is that setting an externality cost is political problem.
        And those MFers already have WAY too much power.

        Shouldn’t be considered until some form of crypto currency has replaced government script.

        Neuter the government!

    1. No amount of extra costs grocery bags will ever offset any environmental impact, but it will offset more of consumers money into the pockets of the fat cats. Nothing but posturing and virtue signaling while shaking you down like a bully for that quarter you had hidden after he already took your lunch money and claims it’s for your protection from bullies. It’s a common theme throughout history (Animal Farm). Yesterday equality for all, today plastic bags, tomorrow flatulence… Unless of course, we wise up.

  1. Is it really common for people in the US to buy just one or two bags worth of groceries at a time? Because my experience is a carload every 1-2 weeks so you’d need a lot of hats.

    And by driving to the store daily you’re offsetting any benefits of reusing a bag.

    1. I’m in the UK, ands I pretty much only buy 1-3 bags worth at a time.
      The supermarket is only a mile away, so I always walk, rather then take the car.
      Grocers are in the towns 1.5 miles either side, so I either walk to them and take the tram back.

    2. I suspect this comes down to personal circumstance more than anything – if you can buy and then store 2 weeks worth of everything you eat most folks being human so lazy by nature will do just that. But all it takes is diet requirements (by force or choice) that means food which doesn’t keep for weeks, lack of space to store it (etc) to make that impossible as your only shop in that time frame. And if you don’t happen to have a car you are probably buying little and often as while I’m sure I could carry 2 weeks worth of food for myself, maybe even 2-3 people back on foot that wouldn’t be fun at all.

      Then there is the distance to the shop to consider – live inside a few mins its easier to not have to be so organised, its trivial to pick up anything you might want, but if you must go out of your way and really travel to get to the store…

      1. I agree that it comes down to circumstance, but want to emphasize that while I prefer a large buffer, which is enabled by having a fair amount of refrigerator / food storage space, that doesn’t mean buying groceries less frequently is necessarily the more luxurious option. Often, the luxury option is to not care whether you own anything at all because the moment you decide you want something, you can have it just by throwing money at someone.

        In this case it would probably best match eating out or having something nice delivered, but picking out fresh foods at a day’s notice without planning ahead still has some resemblance. Having a large buffer and still going to the store whenever you want would be the bigger luxury, while the choice between one or the other would probably depend on the specifics – if you work next door to the market, then it’s so easy to pick things up that the biggest drawback of minimal storage would be having to pay the higher per-item price of smaller quantities of things.

    3. >> Is it really common for people in the US to buy just one or two bags worth of groceries at a time?

      It depends on where one lives and their lifestyle. Distance to nearest store and size of one’s family both play into one’s shopping habits.

  2. In the US, people have to keep running back to the store to buy the item they forgot.

    It’s easy to miss something when you are busy standing in the middle of the aisle with your shopping cart and talking on your phone.

  3. Remember when we were forced to abandon paper in favor of the more environmentally sound plastic? Next, it will be that fabric is somehow bad for the environment and we well be forced to abandon the reusable bags in favor of something else that will be proven just as bad… It is a never ending cycle…

    1. No, I don’t think that every happened. Using plastic bags instead of paper bags was an economic decision by the retailers. However, I am willing to change my mind if you have evidence of your assertion.

      1. It is hard to find evidence of something like this from forty years ago, but since I lived through it, I do know it to be true. I was there. The only thing I could find was – ‘ “…plastic bags were actually created to save the planet. That’s what the son of Swedish engineer Sten Gustaf Thulin who created them in 1959 says. Plastic bags were developed as an alternative to paper bags, whose production resulted in forests being chopped down.” I did find a couple of old articles that pointed to the economic reasons to which you pointed, as well, to be fair. But… believe it or not, there was a push to move to plastic because paper led to deforestation. 🤷‍♂️

    2. Synthetic fibers, mostly for clothes, are by far the biggest contributor to ‘microplastics’. This hat is an example.

      Compared to the ‘fashion aware’, I’m the green one.

      I may own are a few V8s. So?
      Not like I can drive more than one at a time.
      I don’t replace them just because some halfwit in NYC says: ‘Flat plane crankshafts are so last week! All the cool people are going back to flatheads!’

      They still have paper bags available (request) where I live.
      I use them as part of bud curing process.

      I’m sure there are some places so shitty as to require plastic bags though.
      I just wouldn’t be caught dead living in one of them.
      That’s a tell, time to move. Green fascism.

  4. My local supermarket offer produce in compostable bags, paper bags for anything else and free sturdy boxes.

    Compostable bags become dog poo bags on walks (in addition to dispensers of such bags at nearly every public space). Dog poo and good scraps at home are collected with a poop scooper and composted.

    Soda cans get deposited for cash, as do metal items.

    As someone who grew up in an age on abundant plastic bags, it’s still not really a challenge in a country that enables this sort of change. When living in the USA I was surprised at the lack of recycling and green waste collection, even in the big cities.

    And to make sure none of it matters, I drive a diesel.

  5. The whole reusable bag thing is a scam. Stores push you to use reusable bags but 95% of that store’s inventory is wrapped in plastic. Roll of toilet paper, wrapped in plastic. Pre-packaged four pack or bell peppers, comes in a plastic bag. Pack of AA batteries, comes in a plastic blister pack. 1lbs of ground beef, wrap in plastic.

    1. The bag is easily reusable where food, especially meat packaging is not – but its not so easy to do without plastic food packaging as it is the easy method of packaging the food in a way that preserves it for longer… No scam here – your plastic consumption is reduced. And if you really want to I assume Grocer/Butcher/Farmers Markets where you can buy fresh and maybe even bring your own packaging in exist.

      1. Yeah, while I would like to not need to go through so much plastic, at least the refrigerated foods in plastic make sense. I’d rather buy a roll of paper towels or a pack of batteries that was kept inside paper or cardboard when possible. Unless that bit of extra paper destroys the forests or something, which we ought to be able to not do. And I’d like to be able to exchange empty bottles of things for full bottles, in various cases. Ideally, I’d even be able to buy more loose items, but I guess we have decided that instead supermarkets are just going to have self checkouts where if an item doesn’t have a blister pack and a barcode, it almost doesn’t exist.

  6. One thing about reusable bags that bugs me; They are usually made from plastic that has been made into very fine fibers; A lot of the time, the same plastic that the original ‘single-use’ bags were made from! These fibers fray and break over the life a ‘reuseable’ plastic bag. I wonder if any research has been done on the amounts of microplastics release from these bags? Not only that, they are not hygenic at all, because most people don’t ever wash or clean them. Most plastic bags can be reused at least one or two times for various things, but they still ultimately end up degrading into the same waste product. I remember well the push to go to plastic bags over paper; “We are gonna cut down all the trees!” was part of the messaging at the time. Turns out in the long run, recycled paper is probably the more environmentally sound option. Paper takes way less energy to recycle and produce, and biodegrades a lot more easily because it is a natural product, unlike plastic. Even paper bags can be reused at least a couple times, just like the plastic film kind. Remove all the extra chemicals and dyes from the paper and you have an environmentally sound, and perfectly servicable container to temporarily hold ‘dry’ items during transit. Just don’t get caught in the rain!

  7. Every plastic shopping bag is re-usable. Just empty it, fold it, and stick it in your back pocket. Takes a lot less space AND materials than these “proper” re-usable bags.

  8. Agree with the commenter re mosquito face net, I do that every summer. I bought a Tilley hat, guaranteed for life (it says), AND it has a zip pocket inside, for aforementioned net, plus the laces provided to keep the hat on your head in a gale. Bit bloody pricey though at 60 ukp.

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