One Old Bed Sheet = Less Plastic


This week we have another guest blog by Bernadette from Don’t Mess With Dahab. Bernadette not only tries to reduce her own plastic consumption and waste, but has start to work with local people and businesses in Dahab, Egypt to do the same. Read how she does so on her blog here or download the pdf for using less plastic here.

If you have an old sheet and a pair of scissors, you’ve got the tools you need to reduce the amount of plastic packaging you use in your kitchen and bathroom!

Old Bed Sheet
This was an old bed sheet. It was a well-loved sheet, passed on to me by my first roommate in Cairo 15 years ago. She had inherited it from a friend who had left Egypt the year before. It was a lovely sheet – so soft and comfortable – and we enjoyed it as a bed sheet for years. Eventually it ripped, but I still refused to throw it out. I used it as a dust cover on the many storage boxes in my house (I have no cupboards to speak of).

Then I read a suggestion in Beth Terry’s book How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too. She recommends cutting up old sheets to use as paper towels in the kitchen. This, of course, eliminates the need to purchase paper towels packaged in plastic. So I grabbed my scissors and cut this old sheet into squares – some large, some small. You may be amazed at the variety of uses you can get out of one old sheet. Here’s how we use them in our house:

  • As a replacement for facial tissue, I use the small squares as handkerchiefs
  • As a replacement for cotton swabs, I use the sheet to clean out my ears
  • As a replacement for paper kitchen towels, I use the larger squares to
    • drain oil from fried food
    • dry homemade pasta on
    • dry washed salad greens
    • wipe up spills
  • As a replacement for plastic wrap, I dampen the cloth squares and use them to wrap dough in as it rests.

One old bed sheet has gone a long way in my house! And has seriously reduced the amount of plastic I use. I no longer buy kitchen towels (in plastic packaging) or plastic wrap. Saves money!

There are many other creative and practical ways to reuse and repurpose old sheets – from making yarn to dresses to rugs. This list of 20 Ways to Reuse Old Bed Sheets is a good place to start if you’re looking for ideas.

Have you repurposed old bed sheets? Do you have any tips to share? What other uses are there around the house for cut-up old bed sheets?

Remember: Refuse ~ Reduce ~ Reuse ~ Recycle!

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    • I’m with you on that – woven cotton nightgowns are the best! Much like the galabeyyas that are worn here in Egypt. I still have a few old sheets around. I wonder if I could get one of the local tailors to make nightgowns. Thanks for the inspiration!

  1. I use old sheets to make produce/bulk bin bags for shopping and they really help cut down on the plastic. I also use them to store my loaves of homemade bread. I simply cut a large rectangle, finish the top end, fold the fabric in half and sew across the bottom the the one open side. (I have also cut down old pillow cases to make these.) I made my first bags a few years ago and haven’t worn one out yet. They’re so simple, you don’t really need a tutorial, but here’s one on my blog:

  2. I love these great ideas! I typically have repurposed old bedsheets as rags, but I may get out my sewing machine next time with some of these great ideas! And considering the prices of sheets these days, I’ve recently been purchasing other people’s old bedsheets at thrift shops (yes, I wash them in hot water) for a steal – no plastic involved!

  3. Pingback: One Old Bed Sheet = Less Plastic Packaging | Don't Mess with Dahab

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