The Fanny Pack is Back
A new twist on an old fashion. But now you can go back in time without compromising the environment. Many brands have what you want to go eco and retro at the same time. We’re excited to see all these sustainable options…
This Pure Hemp fanny pack is made with 100% hemp and cotton, handmade in Nepal. You can find them online at Hemppacks.
Matt & Nat Aki fanny pack is vegan and cruelty free. It fits an iPhone 6 and is made with recycled materials like cork tag and 100% recycled nylon. You can find it at Unicorn Goods:
If you want to go global, you can support artists and causes by buying a Serengetee fanny pack made with a variety of fabrics from around the world.
For a mere $14.99 you can get a limited edition fanny pack from Terrapax that is made out of hemp and organic cotton.
And if you can’t bring yourself to buy a fanny pack, then call it a wallet belt or a belt handbag or a fanny purse. Hipsters for Sisters designed a stylish and eco-friendly vegan alternative to the fanny pack.
This summer, put your worries behind you, and your fanny pack in front of you.
The Year of the (Green) Rooster by: Bev Gray
This weekend marks the beginning of festivities for the Year of the Rooster. Chinese New Year is on this Saturday, January 28, 2017 and for some, extends until February 2nd. If you’re looking for last minute gift ideas for the holiday, here are some that would be a gift to your friends/family as well as the environment.
Bambeco sustainable home goods has amazing ideas from personalized gifts made out of reclaimed wood to gift-giving basics like candles and bowls.
Shop Omaze for a chance at once-in-a-lifetime experiences such as going to the Grammy’s or buy t-shirts and gifts that give back to charity.
Buy an annual pass to the National Parks Service.
Contact a local artist to commission a piece of art, or ask what they have available. Some will give you discounts if they don’t have to go through a gallery.
Check out online artists like Laura Loving who have online stores with gifts from $15 and up, with an extra 20% off if you sign up for emails.
And there’s Etsy for art, like these handmade gyotaku fish paintings on rice paper that range from $25 to $225.
Elle magazine recommends Eco-Friendly Fashion Labels that work towards sustainability, such as Stella McCartney, SVILU, Kowtow, Amour Vert, Peace Treaty, H&M Conscious Collection, and Freedom of Animals.
And if you are in China, here are some great ideas from Phat Rice.
Happy Chinese New Year from Ragbags!
EVENTS MADE IN THE USA by: Bev Gray
It’s Autumn! You know what that means, pumpkins are in season, root vegetables are ready to be harvested, leaves are falling from the trees and people are planning 2017 events. Event attendees have started scheduling their 2017 travel plans and vacation time off, while event organizers are gearing up for venue signage, promotional bags, scheduled line-up of musical acts and volunteer staff.
Below is a peek at a few of the largest 2017 American made events that can use our Made in America Ragbags.
January 19-29, 2017
SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL – Park City, Utah
The annual film festival held in Park City, Utah is the largest independent film festival in the US. Sundance began in August 1978, but now is traditionally held in winter months and attracts over 46,000 people annually.
ROCK N’ ROLL MARATHONS – Multiple Dates & Cities
The Rock n’ Roll Marathon series originated in 1998 in San Diego, CA. Now it is held in cities all over the world. 2017 Marathons and 1/2 Marathons will be held in Arizona, New Orleans, Washington, DC, Dallas, San Francisco, Raleigh, Carlsbad, Nashville, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Virginia Beach & Philadelphia.
Check out the dates for your city
March 10-19, 2017
SXSW – Austin, TX
Founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, South by Southwest (SXSW) is a festival focused on interactive technology, media, film and music. The first event was expecting to see 150 participants, but 700 people showed up. SXSW Music has been touted as the “largest music festival of it’s kind in the world.” In 2014, there were over 2,00 musical acts. The event now has over 84,000 attendees annually.
March 25 – April 15, 2017
NATIONAL CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL – Washington, DC
In West Potomac Park on March 27, 1912, First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda (wife of the Japanese ambassador), planted two trees that were a gift from Japan. This began an annual event that held it’s first official festival in 1927. Today, the National Cherry Blossom Festival has more than 1.5 million people annually. The date of the festival is set around the expect bloom date for the cherry trees. The two original cherry trees still stand today.
April 1, 2107
COOPER RIVER BRIDGE RUN – Charleston, SC
The race is the third largest 10K in the US and the fifth largest American road race. This year the Cooper River Bridge Run will be held on April Fool’s Day. The annual 10K race across the Arthur Ravanel Jr. Bridge is the only event in the state of South Carolina sanctioned by USA Track and Field as an elite event. The event normally sees around 34K-40K participants.
April 6-9, 2017
MASTERS TOURNAMENT – Augusta, GA
Since 1934, Augusta National Golf Club has provided America with The Master’s Golf tournament. The Masters is one of the four major professional golf tournaments. Unlike the other tournaments, the Masters is always held in the same location, Augusta, GA. Although the Master’s doesn’t release official attendance, it is estimated to be over 300,000 over the course of a week. Only one person wins the coveted green jacket each year, but attendees get to take home green bags, shirts, cups and hats.
April 28-May 7, 2017
NEW ORLEANS JAZZ & HERITAGE FESTIVAL – New Orleans, LA
Also known as New Orleans Jazz Festival or simply, Jazz Fest to locals. In 2015, the festival saw as many as 460,000 attendees. Although the festival now attracts about $300 million for the local economy, festival organizers joke that at the first 1970 Jazz Fest, there were more people on stage than in the audience. The festival is know for it’s uniquely New Orleans’ style cajun food and crafts, as well as a diverse line-up of legendary musical acts, like The Who, Ed Sheeran, Alison Krauss, Keith Urban, No Doubt, Pitbull, Jerry Lee Lewis, Lady Gaga and Widespread Panic.
May 5-6, 2017
KENTUCKY DERBY – Louisville, KY
In 2017, Louisville, KY will be holding it’s 143rd annual Kentucky Derby. The Run for the Roses is the first leg of the Triple Crown series of horse races, followed by Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. A horse must win all three races to win the triple crown. Although most attendees enjoy the two minute race, they go for the mint juleps, outrageous hats, Millionaire’s Row and burgoo.
May 13, 2017
IROQUOIS STEEPLECHASE – Nashville, TN
Since 1941, the Iroquois Steeplchase has been a Tennessee tradition.
It currently attracts more than 25,000 spectators annually to watch some of the world’s best horses and riders in the world while enjoying Tennessee Springtime, mint juleps and Southern hospitality.
June 8-11, 2017
BONNAROO – Manchester, TN
Bonnaroo started in 2002 as an Arts and Music festival in Manchester, TN. It is now a 4 day festival that sees from 45,000 to 100,000 attendees annually. Bonnaroo encourages green activities, such as recycling while at the festival, food and drink sold in recyclable materials and Planet Roo, where one goes to “heighten their global consciousness.” These eco activities are why in 2011, Bonnaroo won a Greener Festival award. The festival also gives to charities such as Doctors Without Borders, Habitat for Humanity, Rock the Earth, the American Red Cross and the Sierra Club.
July 28-30, 2017
NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL – Newport, RI
Newport Folk Festival started in the summer of 1959 by George Wein. It continues to impress with acts like Elvis Costello, Alabama Shakes, Flight of the Conchords, Violent Femmes, Norah Jones, Ryan Adams Ray Lamontagne and Middle Brother. This festival also makes an effort to be green-friendly as it partnered with Clean Water Act and donates a portion of proceeds to CWA. Newport Folk Festival expects around 10,000 attendees per day.
July 19-23, 2017
COMIC CON INTERNATIONAL- San Diego, CA
Comic-Con is held annually at the San Diego Convention Center for comic and Science-fiction fans. Comic-Con started on March 21, 1970 as a one-day “minicon” with about 100 attendees, but quickly turned into a 3 day event by August 1-3, 1970.
It now is attended by over 130,000 people annually and has expanded to other cities.
August 2-7, 2017
MAINE LOBSTER FESTIVAL – Rockland, Maine
Tens of thousands of people from all over the world head to Rockland, Maine each year for the annual Maine Lobster Festival. The event is a non-profit run exclusively by volunteers and has given more than $500,000 to Midcoast Maine communities to support local food pantries, high school sports teams, community service groups, local emergency services, and offer college scholarships.
August 21-27, 2017
WASHINGTON STATE KITE FESTIVAL – Long Beach, WA
The Washington State International Kite Festival was started in 1981 with 9 people flying kites. Now it sees thousands of attendees from all over the world. Although the event has seen massive growth in attendance, it still can’t seem to beat the Guiness World Record set the first year. The festival in 1981 set a Guinness record for keeping a kite in the air for 180 hours, the longest time ever recorded.
Oct. 2017 TBA
ALBUQUERQUE BALLOON FIESTA – Albuquerque, NM
This festival began humbly in 1972 with 13 balloons taking off from a mall parking lot. The popular event quickly expanded. It has now ballooned to over 600 balloons and over 80,000 people. Although there are several balloon events throughout the year, the main event is still the Balloon Fiesta, which proudly boasts the titles of: Most Photographed Event in the World, Largest Ballooning Event on Earth and The Largest Annual International Event Held in US.
*This is an incomplete list of the noteworthy 2017American events that can use our noteworthy bags. If you are interested in telling us about your upcoming event, contact us at email@example.com.
Sow Your Own Row by: Bev Gray
The current trend is to buy local produce to cut down on gas emission and carbon footprints and go up on freshness and flavor. I decided to go local, very local. Like, my own yard local. I noticed all my neighbors had raised bed gardens and thought, “I can do that!”
You can do it, too. Below are simple easy steps for making a raised bed garden for vegetables, herbs or fruit.
How to Make a Totally Rad Vegetable Garden
First you need to either buy or build a raised bed. I built mine out of cedar. Wait a minute, did you just yawn? I mean, gardening is cool, right? I can talk about, no?
Gardeners don’t get the respect they deserve. You have to be tough to garden. It’s not for sissies. You need rugged gloves like motorcycle riders have and a good hat like a trucker. You have to be prepared for earth worms (eeeeekkkk!), root rot, blight, mold, anthracnose, fungal diseases, smuts, rusts, sweat and accidentally rubbing dirt on your face. This year I had to fight off the Japanese… beetles. I had a turf war with a mint plant. That’s right, I waged a war. A war! Ok, so the mint won, but I put up a ridiculously good fight*. I might not have any street cred, but I’ve got yard cred.
* Ridiculously Good Fight – Apparently mint is a container based plant. Everyone told me “mint is really invasive” when I planted it. At the time I thought, “who wouldn’t want to be invaded by mint?” It’s pretty, it smells great, what’s the problem? Fast forward two years. The last mint pulling session had me out in the yard engaged in a tug-of-war game making noises like a sumo wrestler. It took 4 giant trash bags, 37 curse words and 3 hours, but I I got it. I won. Then a week later, I saw a little sprig of mint. The worst part is that I could audibly hear it laughing at me.
So I’ll try this gardening tutorial again, but keep it real.
Tips for Freestyle Gardening
1. Don’t waste money buying a simple, easy to assemble, affordable raised bed to plunk down in your yard in 15 minutes or less. No, no, no. Build your own. From complete scratch. What do professionals know about building a raised bed in YOUR yard? Build the specs based on what aesthetically looks best to you.
2. Buy cedar to build up your bed. Why? It’s harder to find, more expensive, and it weighs a lot more. When it’s strapped to the roof of a Mini Cooper, people excitedly yell, “Oh my GOD! Can that roof support the weight of that?”
3. Don’t have tools? No problem. Make friends with your neighbors, surely one of them can cut your wood and will let you borrow a hole digger and power drill. (I call my yard a community garden, because it took the entire community to build it.)
4. When planting seeds, don’t write down anywhere what you are planting, just leave the bags of seed in the back of the bed. It will completely fade and you won’t be able to read it at all, but if it’s all food, just eat whatever grows.
5. Plant lots of mammoth sunflower seeds in direct sunlight. So if nothing edible grows, you can still be impressed by the 8 foot flowers towering above you.
6. Totally own your mistakes. When someone points out that the tomato plants need to be two feet apart but are in a one foot wide bed, respond with, “Oh, you must do traditional gardening. That’s cool. I’m using new contemporary gardening techniques developed for small spaces.”
7. Plant a few plants that were never meant to grow on your continent because, well, you never know.
8. Create a severe drought by not knowing how to work your irrigation system. Then follow that up by over compensating with overwatering your plants. Then go out of town for a few weeks and leave your plants on their own. At this point they will flourish and thrive while not being tended by an oppressive regime.
9. Buy a miniature colander so when you take photos to show your friends, your produce looks massive!
10. After you have already built your oddly-sized garden bed and planted the wrong seeds, go and talk to employees at a local nursery so you know how to do it better next season. Ask what kind of soil you should use, how often you should water and for how long, ask what plants grow well in your region, ask what kinds of plants could be planted nearby to fend off bugs or to absorb excess water, ask the best local place to buy compost (apparently my local landfill has award winning compost), ask what grows best seasonally, and ask what you can use preventatively to ward off insects.
All the hard work is worth it because veggies are cool. And I’ve experience first hand the fact that children who grow their own vegetables are more excited about eating them. My seven year-old has already started talking up the soups we can make with the vegetables.
And vegetable gardens smell great and earthy. Produce is the foundation for life. The garden makes me feel like I am one with the planet. When I check on my crops, I feel like the scene from the movie Avatar when the people find the tree of life and can hear it talking. Sure, I mostly hear my mint mocking me, but there are other happy voices in there, too. Little cherry tomatoes yelling, “pick me! pick me!!!”
So here’s my advice. Don’t garden like a pro. Garden with reckless abandon. Grow your own way. Sow your own row. It’s a rad ride. Nothing tastes as good as food you grew yourself. And don’t forget to gather up your harvest in your ragbags and share with it the community of people that helped you along the way.
Go Green in Red, White and Blue by: Bev Gray
Spend your July 4th partying like a Revolutionary. That’s right, rock it 1776 style. Independence Day means abolish traditions. You don’t have to celebrate like you did last year. Instead exert your independence, change things up, party like John Hancock, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Roger Sherman. You can march to the beat of your own drum.
1776 Party Check List:
Eat local fruits and vegetables.
Travel by foot, paddle boat or horse.
Visit your local village bake house.
Begin your day with a bowl of porridge or a bowl of cornmeal pudding called mush…or a beer.
Use only reusable bowls, cups and utensils. (In Colonial Times, people often travelled with their own untisils because they were hard to come by.)
Keep a bag of parched corn beaten into a powder with you in case you get hungry. I mean, you’d have to be REALLY hungry, but apparently it will fill you up fast. It was the Colonial power bar.
Read the Declaration of Independence.
Put down all digital devices & play a few (odd) colonial games. Or some more common colonial games, like hopscotch.
Wait a minute, it’s starting to sound like a lot of work to party like it’s 1776. I don’t even have time to plant and harvest my grain so I can make my breakfast beer before July 4th – an aMAZEing amount of work! Ba dum chh.
Ok, how about just a 1776 commemorative party? With a few of these practical things to do:
Ditch disposables – You can take your own plate and utensils to a party that might have disposables, or if you are planning a party, make sure there aren’t disposable items. Sure, it might be more cleaning later, but be glad you’re not cleaning your dish in a creek in the dark.
Buy Local – No matter where you are, there is local food, local crops, local beers, local coffee, etc. And they are probably fresher and better than the ones trucked in.
A/C – In Colonial times there was no air conditioning. A/C is a huge power hog. Dial it back to use less energy when you’re not in your home or business. To remember, you can pretend A/C stands for Always Colonial.
Carpool – Wherever you’re going, try to carpool… and be glad you’re not all packed in the back of a hot and stuffy horse drawn carriage. Unless you actually have a sweet horse drawn carriage, then definitely drive that on the 4th! That would be a rad ride.
UNPLUG! – This will make you so much happier for the 4th, and will also save electricity. Unplug. All of your devices. Do you really need to look at a screen all day? Nope. Turn it off. You don’t need it. For one day you can enjoy the great outdoors, the company of friends or a good book. Seriously, turn off all your devices, go ahead and do it now. Right now. Actually, check out this Historic Foodie Blog, THEN turn it off.
Happy 4th of July from RagBags.
May your day be happy and revolutionary.
(Now you can turn it off.)
Ragbags Ranked in Top 10 Innovations: By Bev Gray
Jolly good news, mates! Ragbags was named Top 10 Innovations at UK event! In Britain they’re saying, “Nice one, Ragbags. Brilliant!” Glad the Brits have cottoned on.
For everyone stateside, what I’m trying to say is Ragbags was honored by industry peers on an international level. Ragbags was named in the Top 10 Innovations in Packaging at Packaging Innovations 2016, the UK’s leading Packaging event. (Woo-hoo!)
Packaging Innovations brings the packaging industry together to highlight new innovations, inspire new approaches, and discover the latest trends and technologies. The show featured packaging suppliers from a handful of US based companies, along with companies from UK and others parts of the EU. The UK event, hosted by EasyFairs, was held this past week in Birmingham, England. Now that Ragbags has taken Europe by a storm, we’re one of those cool American things you get in America, like ice, free drink refills and air conditioning.
Eric Grossman, CEO of Metropak, the manufacturer of Ragbags was thrilled by the enthusiasm for Ragbags at the UK show.
”We introduced Ragbags at the packaging Innovation show last week, and were delighted with the tremendous amount of positive feedback We received from so many folks on the other side of the pond. We believe with all of the new bag laws affecting UK and the EU, ragbags are a great eco-friendly option for many retailers. To be chosen among top the 10 new packaging innovations in 2016 was a huge honor for Ragbags!”
Ragbags will be featured in Packaging News and a few UK publications. We’re chuffed by the smashing news. Cheerio!
Title: Just Like Any Mama, Mother Russia Wants You to Eat Well By: Bev Gray
Although in this photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin looks like he’s concocting an evil plan, what he’s coming up with is actually quite genius. Putin announced that Russia will become the #1 producer of foods that are non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms). Say what you will about Russia, but it looks like they might be able to do something that the US has never been able to do, stand up to Monsanto and genetically modified seeds.
In an address to Russian parliament, Putin proudly outlined his plan to make Russia the world’s ‘leading exporter’ of non-GMO foods that are based on ‘ecologically clean’ production.
That’s right, we’re talking about Russia.
This news comes just months after Russia banned the production of genetically engineered foods. It’s clear now that Russia was using the GMO ban as a starting point to become a world leader in organic farming, and more importantly, exporting their organic farming.
In his speech to Parliament, Putin even took an eco swing at the US with:
“We are not only able to feed ourselves taking into account our lands, water resources – Russia is able to become the largest world supplier of healthy, ecologically clean and high-quality food which the Western producers have long lost, especially given the fact that demand for such products in the world market is steadily growing.”
Ouch! This coming from the country that created Lake Karachay, the most toxic place on earth. Apparently standing there for an hour could kill you because of all the radioactive waste.
As Russia cleans up their act, Americans are forced to look inward. We have to look at ourselves and ask, “What can we change?” What can we bring to the table when there is a global discussion of becoming more pro-environment?
There are things everyone knows to do, buy fuel efficient cars, carpool, recycle, take shorter showers, put solar panels on your house, compost, buy water efficient toilets, etc. But there other things to also consider:
- Turn off your computer at night
- All environmentalists say to only use environmentally friendly bags. So, I will tell you that, too. Buy Ragbags to use for grocery bags, kitchen towels, plant blankets, gym bags, gift bags and seat covers.
- Always take a marker when at a party or picnic with plastic or paper cups. If people write their names on cups, they are less likely to lose them and need need extra cups. But more importantly, when your name is on a cup, you’re less likely to litter or forget to recycle the cup.
- Take water with you when you leave home, so you won’t need to buy plastic water bottles. Or if you’re forgetful like me, after you wash your water bottle, put it back in your car or bag or somewhere you will have it ready next time you leave.
- Buy energy efficient light bulbs
- Take the stairs instead of elevator
- Walk or bike instead of driving
- And whenever possible exercise outside instead of indoors. If the weather is great, why are people on treadmills?
- When someone gives you a gift in a gift bag, save it for next time you give a gift.
- And put this one on your calendar to do. It will take a few minutes, but totally worth it. Contact all the companies that send you giant catalogs that you never even look at. Most catalogs that come to my house get dropped in the recycling on my walk back from the mailbox. Bypass this step by telling companies to stop sending these all-together.
- Read labels, not only for what you are buying, but where you are buying it from. I used to think the ‘buy local’ or ‘buy American’ movement was to promote the local economy. But the truth is, the closer to you items are made, the less environmental damage was done getting the product to you.
- Don’t use your TV for background noise. Instead listen to music on CD Player, stereo, iPhone, or really any device instead of TV.
- Unplug devices you aren’t using.
According to Bruce Nordman, an energy efficiency researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, as a general rule of thumb, the bigger—and older—the device, the more power it uses while it’s off. So it’s much more effective to unplug the decade-old TV in your guest bedroom than the phone charger that you bought last year. Another tip: “When you put your hand on the adaptor, if it’s hot, it’s using energy. If it’s not hot, it’s probably not using very much energy.” (Excerpt from motherjones.com)
- Get organized. (This is totally the pot calling the kettle black.) I frequently buy new things because I don’t have time to look for the one I already have. If you are organized, you already know where that illusive 3 volt battery is when your smoke alarm battery gets low in the middle of the night and starts beeping. And you know that you already have 24 party cups, so you don’t need to buy more. Also if you plan your day the night before, you’re less likely to have to do additional gas-guzzling driving, backtracking and last minute purchases. (Again, talking to myself here, people.)
It’s All About Meme – By Bev Gray
Get creative with those holiday left overs
The holidays can be overwhelming, and post holidays are no exception. Every year we all experience the burden of recovering from the holidays, and honestly, the guilt of throwing out all that wrapping paper or expensive tissue paper friends and family bought.
5 Ways to Make it #EarthDayEveryDay
Earth Day is one of our favorite days of the year. It’s great to have a day to remind us of important issues like water conservation, pollution and clean energy. But what about the rest of the year?