What do plastic bags and textile waste have in common? Just ask Ann Savageau, Associate Professor, Design Program at UC Davis.
"The number of single-use shopping bags used and discarded is staggering", stated Ms. Savageau. "I saw that there was a lot of textile waste on our campus and decided that we could create reusable shopping bags from our own campus waste".
In 2006 while developing material for undergraduate courses on sustainability, Ms Savageau began to learn about the huge environmental impact of various consumer products that were created by designers.
It was at that time she decided to train the next generation of designers to help heal the planet, and not add waste to our landfills.
BAGS Across the Globe
In the spring of 2008, Ann Savageau started a project named "BAGS Across the Globe". The project has a two-fold mission:
- Raise public awareness of the terrible environmental toll caused by plastic shopping bags
- Offer attractive and sustainable alternatives to plastic bags
BAGS Across the Globe is a collaborative effort with friends and strangers in countries across the globe. The goal is to bring attention to the environmental damage caused by single-use plastic shopping bags and textile waste, and to promote the use of reusable cloth bags.
To accomplish these goals, the reusable cloth bags, made from textile waste, was sent to people around the globe. Initially, two bags were sent to 80 people with the recipient to keep one bag and give the other one to a friend to help spread the message.
Ms. Savageau estimates that over 200 people have participated in BAGS Across the Globe since May of 2009. Not only have the recipients of the bags responded, but also elementary school students in London, England, and design students from Pontificia Universidad Javerianna in Cali, Columbia.
Taking a stand against the excesses of consumer culture and the glorification of high-priced luxury items, such as designer bags, BAG is making a statement that stylish, one-of-a-kind bags are accessible to anyone, regardless of income. The bags are unique and truly one-of-a-kind. No two bags are alike.
Who Makes All Those Bags?
Along with Ms. Savageau, eleven UC Davis Design students and many student interns have helped create the bags, logo, website and exhibition materials. The team worked many months to design and make the bags.
UC Davis fashion design students have now adopted the BAG project. They will be creating their own bags from campus waste. The bags will then be sold as a fundraiser for their annual fashion show.
Exhibition for the Environment
Ann Savageau decided that the BAG project should be shown as a gallery installation when the process was complete. The BAG exhibition, "Designing To Reduce Waste", will open January 11th at the UC Davis Design Museum. The culmination of the two and a half year project, the exhibition will describe the project, the bags, the participants and the results of the project.
Several dramatic pieces are planned for the show. A ceiling-to-floor 'tornado' of over one thousand shopping bags will be displayed which represents the number of plastic bags used by a two-person household in California. There will also be a 30-kilo 'rock' of plastic bags taken from the stomach of a camel that ate plastic bags and starved to death as a result.
To fully understand the project and Ann Savageau's work, you simply must visit her website at: www.AnnSavageau.com. Visit the Travel Record and you will see that the fight against plastic shopping bags is truly a global fight.
Photo: Bag 1852. Credit: Barbara Molloy. Used by permission.
See photos of the BAGS Across the Globe Team.