How to Make Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With Stringscomments (9) January 12th, 2009
We all have seen it at some point during the holidays: a limp paper plate loaded with cookies and covered in cling-wrap that's not clinging. Is there a drearier way to transport baked goods, treats, or gifts from point A to point B? This past holiday season, I vowed to make every effort to put an end to this unsightly and ineffective mode of conveyance. I bought premade boxes and tins (expensive and NOT particularly green—though the tins were reusable), I made my own boxes (a substantial investment of time and energy and again, not particularly green because most of them ended up in the trash once the treats they contained were gone), and I recycled plastic containers that I attempted to tart up with fancy labels, pieces of gingham, and ribbons. All these efforts were modestly successful in one way or another, but my simplest effort, by far, garnered the best response from recipients: a humble brown paper bag.
In my household, brown bags are usually reserved for packing lunches for my nieces whenever they come for a visit or for applying breadcrumbs and cornflakes to chicken the way my grandmother used to do. As useful as even these traditional uses are, the brown bag usually can expect a single use before it's shipped off to the landfill. But with the aid of a simple hole punch (or two), a box of ribbon remnants, and the eager participation of the aforementioned nieces, we created a collection of whimsical and attractive bags that delighted their recipients. Most people reported back to me that they carefully folded their bag and tucked it safely away in a drawer to be used again. A few people said their own children commandeered the piece as a stylish lunch bag. One woman took hers into her 4th grade class and made a craft project out of it. All in all, it may not empty the landfills, but it will, in some small way, keep them from filling up so quickly.
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