A feel-good way to fight waste
Every day we’re inundated with news about environmental destruction. The scale of the problem is so huge that it inevitably leaves us feeling powerless in the face of growing disaster. What can we, as individuals, do to make a difference?
Morsbags – an initiative that makes reusable cloth bags from second-hand fabric – is an inspiring example of how one individual responded to that question and created an award-winning brand that has grown from strength to strength.
Take matters into your own hands
Morsbag founder Claire Morsman, was disturbed by the increasing numbers of plastic bags she saw floating past her houseboat in London. She knew how fatal these bags were to whales, turtles and other marine life, but it was on finding a seabird tangled in plastic and near death in 2007, that she knew she had to do something to influence change. Serendipitously, she had just inherited an old sewing machine, so she embarked on teaching herself to sew and created her very first Morsbag; a shopping bag made from recycled fabric.
Spread the word
Motivated by a new sense of purpose, Claire set out to inspire others to get involved. She did so by initiating local and online communities known as ‘sewing pods’ – groups who meet to sew socially and/or individuals who participate and engage online. She also raised awareness on a ground-level by handing out free Morsbags at local shopping centres, encouraging shoppers to shop consciously, swap plastics for recycled fabrics, and get involved.
Today Claire is still very much hands on, driving awareness through appearances at events such as the Great British Sewing Bee LIVE, Radio 4 Woman’s Hour and most recently, the BBC One Show.
Morsbags is charity with a difference – not-for-profit really does mean not-for-profit. The bags are not available to purchase and not a penny changes hands. Instead, Claire envelops a pay-it-forward model by encouraging followers to download patterns and make their own bags with the purpose of giving them away.
Followers enjoy feeling part of a movement; making new friends, coordinating group events and having friendly competitions between sewing pods. Throughout November followers are participating in ‘Sewvember’ – an effort to create enough bags to replace wasteful wrapping paper over Christmas.
Morsbags empowers people. Learning a new skill like using a sewing machine encourages a feeling of self-confidence and the process of making something by hand provides people with a sense of creative satisfaction. These feelings are reinforced by the knowledge that their crafts are doing good in the world.