Going Green – a recycling book tutorial

I have been becoming increasingly aware of the things around me, every day things, that we typically view as garbage.

Plastic bags fill my recycling bin, as well as cans, boxes, and paper products like grocery bags. And I feel like there has to be something more we can do to be kinder to the world around us than to simply toss everything into a recycling container.

Don’t get me wrong, recycling is good. Much better than putting it into a garbage bag headed for the landfill. but can we possibly use some of those things for yet another purpose than what was originally intended? Could we lessen the burden of said containers, and our pocketbooks, and create something useful?

Today’s tutorial came from necessityits the mother of invention you know 😉

It is simple, yet functional. This morning while looking for a scrap of paper to write the growing list of grocery needs collecting in my brain, I sifted through a pile of bills, birthday cards, and upcoming event invites…can’t use those! But I was desperate to unload the list before I forgot it.

There on the table was a paper grocery bag from a local market that had the cutest drawings of fruit and vegetables, as well as a really cool “shop local Michigan” stamp.

…and the pocket notepad emerged.


  • 1 paper grocery bag
  • scissors
  • hole punch
  • binder clip
  • ribbon


Cut down one side of the bag along the folded seam. Then cut the bottom completely off leaving the rest of the bag flat open.  If there are handles on the bag, you can either simply cut off the handles, or cut the whole top straight off (which is what I did)


Accordion fold the remaining rectangle of paper creasing the folds firmly. Make these sections as large or as small as you like (mine are approximately 4″ wide)  Once you are finished folding, open it back up and cut along those folds, then stack the slices.

20180912_111130Fold the whole stack in half, crease the fold firmly, and place a binder clip on the bottom to keep them from shifting.

20180912_111703Using a whole punch, create 3 holes across the top. The first and third one should be at least 1/2″ from the outer edges, and 1/4″ from the top edge. Center the remaining hole between them.

20180912_112023Starting in the center hole, weave the ribbon in from the front, through to the right hole, across the front to the other side then in that hole. You will finish up by sliding the ribbon from the back to the front through that center hole. It helps if you pull the ribbon that is already there tightly to the side to make way. This may be a bit difficult depending on the size of the hole. A large eye needle might help if your ribbon will fit in it.

When both tails are sticking out the front, one on each side of the ribbon stretching across, tie into a knot or a bow

20180912_112112You are now ready to fill it with all of those pressing grocery items.

These slide easily into pockets, purses, and even wallets if you make them small enough. Going green can be so satisfying to your creative nature, and there will be one less piece of paper in that bin!!

Bonus idea: When the pages are full, spread some gesso on them and start over….or paint some pictures of fruit!  The possibilities are endless. 

So the next time you are asked “paper or plastic”, think of the creative possibilities and….

Go Green!!




  1. lisa evola says:

    Thanks Barb! Anything we can do to help the recycling efforts 🙂


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