Crochet Ideas for Going Green

By Rachel Choi – 28 Comments
If you are looking to go green, crocheting can be a fun way to do so! There are all sorts of things you can crochet while helping the environment. You can crochet reusable items to replace things you would normally toss out. Also, try turning everyday items into yarn, such as plastic bags, old T-shirts or VHS tapes. By recycling materials and reusing your crocheted items, not only can you help the environment, you will be save money along the way!

Here are some ideas to get started! Feel free to add you own ideas, by leaving them as a comment.

go green

Bags – Grocery bags, lunch bags, big bags, small bags…any type of bag you can think of can be crocheted and reused. The best part about crocheted bags is that you don’t need regular yarn to make them. In fact, bags tend to be stronger when made with non traditional materials such as plarn (plastic yarn). Try recycling plastic or other materials to crochet your bags. I have lots of free patterns that you can use (too many to list here), just use the search box at the top of the page!

Dishcloths - Stop using all those paper towels! Replace then with crocheted dishcloths. Crocheted dishcloths come in all sorts of styles and can be used for multiple purposes, not just washing dishes. Personally, I love using then for cleaning up spills. Although I have tons of dishcloth patterns for you to use, here is the link to my favorite dishcloth pattern: Free Crochet Pattern: Dishcloth with Ridges.

Facial Cleaning Pads – If you use a lot of cotton balls or disposable facial pads, you way want to consider crocheting some. To reuse them, all you have to do is toss them into the washing machine with your clothes! Plus, theses are so easy and fast to crochet, you might as well try them. Here’s a pattern: Crochet Pattern: Facial Cleaning Pads

Crochet Anything with Recycled Materials – When I say anything, I do mean anything! Crochet home decor items, toys, blankets, hats, scarves, clothes … literally anything. Don’t limit yourself by just crocheting with traditional yarn. Try crocheting with plarn (yarn made from plastic bags) or T-yarn (yarn made from old T-shirts). You do NOT need a special pattern to crochet with these materials. You can use regular crochet patterns (just remember to check your gauge).

Buy Crochet Patterns Online – With technology these days, who needs paper? You can purchase the PDF version of patterns online and carry them around on your laptop, phone, or even electronic readers!

Do you have more crochet ideas to add to the list? Share by leaving a comment!

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28 Comments

  1. RecycleCindy says:

    Great post and some very good ideas for people to be more green in their crafting. It is also very frugal to use recycled materials and especially during these down economic times when many people do not have a lot of extra money to buy craft supplies. I just recently reclaimed my first yarn from some old thrift store sweaters and the yarn is now able to be crocheted or knitted into a new project and the cost was minimal.

  2. Taylor says:

    Cindy, I just recently reclaimed a sweater as well! Now I’m hooked (no pun intended).haha. I’m also using T-yarn for a pet bed that way I can wash it easily.

  3. Kate says:

    This is a great post! I hope it inspires a lot of crocheting eco-warriors! :)

  4. Debbi says:

    Soap saver bags. For those little bits of solid soap left over that no one wants to use. Great for cleaning or baths. YOu just crochet a little bag (like a cell phone or iPod bag), add a cinch tie, and put the soap in the bag.

    I remember reading someone using an old shirt for a lining in a crocheted purse. I tried a t-shirt but it was too stretchy. However, some can work with that fabric and use those too.

    Doilies to cover up old, scratched furniture. Even yarn doilies work. I like Size 3 thread and an F hook.

    Cover anything with crochet. Liquid soap bottles look so much better with a cochet cover. Clean soup cans covered in crochet make nice pencil holders (or crochet hook holders).

  5. Amanda says:

    I only use plarn now. I feel good using old bags and my friends and family like what I have made too!

  6. holli says:

    i love the feeling of tee yarn.

  7. amy says:

    i LOVE this post! i hope it inspires more people to go green! i plan on trying out t yarn and making more washcloths in place paper towels..just gotta get some cotton yarn :)

  8. Jessi says:

    Getting Patterns online is a great Idea! I like the patterns for things like Scrub Cloths and even the covers for your Swiffer! Good stuff! I made dish scrubbies for all of my family for christmas and it is so fun to be using the sink at one of their houses and seeing them being used all the time! There is so much you can make that can help eliminate the waste! FUN!

  9. Elizabeth Starr Lilly says:

    Thanks so much for this post! I have been doing almost all of the things on the list, but I hadn’t thought of using t-shirts for yarn. Like some of the other commenters, I just reclaimed my first used sweater for the cotton yarn and I can’t believe how much yarn I got out of it. I made a huge stack of dishcloths, crowns (for my daughters to play dress-up with), facial cleansing pads, and I’m even working on a little purse for a little girl. I didn’t realize how much yarn went into one sweater until now!

    One new suggestion would be to re-use mesh produce bags (like the ones onions, garlic, lemons, etc come in) to crochet dish scrubbies.

    Thanks again! :).

  10. Samantha says:

    I know this isn’t specifically fiber arts related, but along the lines of finding things at thrift stores I look for clothing that has buttons I think would go well on one of my projects. Rather than spending $3+ on one or two buttons at a craft store, I spend at most $1.50 for (usually) six buttons at a thrift store/yard sale/garage sale. Not only do I save money, but I reuse buttons and rarely do I find that I need to buy new ones.

  11. auntyk says:

    I ran across this idea while pouncing around on Etsy. Unfortunately I don’t know who to credit, but I tried it out myself using simple sc in back stitch. The finished product is an all cotton, re usable, reversable, washable SWIFTER cover. Why buy paper and toss when with a little imagination, a tape measurer, and about 2 hours time you can have one for years!!!!!! It really works beautifully, and you can also dampen to swifter up sticky spills…………..

  12. hannah says:

    Wow great ideas!!! GO GREEN!!!

  13. Marie Anne says:

    I want to make some yarn from old t-shirts and see how difficult it is to work with. I love the idea of recycling/upcycling. Great job!

  14. Susan says:

    I re-use old towels — cut them into 1/2-inch strips and use a huge hook — and make super-absorbent rugs for the bathroom or the floor by the doors (especially in winter). Washable and my first one from 10 years ago still looks like new.

    Also, you can search the internet for all kinds of afghan squares — the more texture the better — and use those patterns for washcloths.

  15. Angie says:

    When I have tried making t-yarn, the fabric always “sheds” and winds up making a big mess. Any tricks to avoid that?

  16. kiki g says:

    I have about 30 pairs of old jeans. I was wondering if I could recycle/reuse to make J-Yarn? I guess the strips would have to be pretty thin to work with, since denim is pretty stiff. Any suggestions?

    • Rachel says:

      Hey Kiki, just go for it! Like you said, jeans are pretty stiff. You can try different sized strips of jeans to see what works best. Let us know how it goes :)

  17. Sandra Y. says:

    Yesterday I got a big bag of scrap yarn from my co-worker, so tomorrow I plan on digging into it and making something interesting! Eco-friendly isn’t just finding materials that are recycled or biodegradable–finishing off an old stash is better than buying new yarn, and it’s extremely cost-effective!

  18. Elizabeth says:

    I agree with you 100% Sandra! I buy most of my yarn at Goodwill, and I consider that to be recycled even though it’s never been used. The fact that no new materials or energy are going into making yarn for me makes it eco-friendly. Have fun with all the scrap yarn!

  19. Annabelle says:

    Great idea to get yarn from Goodwill. I hadn’t thought of that but what a great idea! Thanks!

  20. [...] are experiencing. Here on Crochet Spot we have briefly addressed this growing concern with Ideas for Going Green and Tips for Being A Frugal Crocheter. It’s a very popular subject right now and exciting as [...]

  21. Margaret Marks says:

    What a fantastic post and I do hope it inspires many more to take up crocheting. I keep trying with my friends down under and pass on a link to your site for those online. Thanks so much, Rachel.

  22. Chris says:

    I have been crocheting teddy bears to take to Africa on a Humanitarian trip in January 2012. I have used recycled yarn from previous knitted and crocheted clothing, left over yarn from other projects, and even came up with short pieces of yarn tied together and then when the ball was big enough used it to make the pants of a teddy bear or the shirt. I call this my “Coat of many colors” Teddy Bear. They are adorable. My goal is to crochet 130 so that each orphan will have one as a “Teddy Friend”. With the help of others , I am confident we will reach that goal. This idea originally came from your web site under charitable organizations. Thank you for sharing with us all.

  23. maggie says:

    @ kiki. before making the yarn, wash the jeans and use a good amount of fabric softener. old jeans will get nice and soft with wear and tear, and fabric softener will help. j-yarn sounds amazingly comfy… I’ll have to try that soon :)

  24. Chris says:

    I would love to try plarn. Does anyone know where I can find a pattern to make a rectangular bag using plarn?

  25. Linda says:

    Love this idea of yarn from old. TS. I am making bibs and wheel chair tots for my elderly. Mom. Now that I have tharn I plan to make several more and donate to a local nursing home. Thank you. Linda

  26. maureen says:

    I have been using the filling from old/torn stuffed animals. My husband is constantly winning things for the kids from the claw machines, and those things tear apart in a week or two. So instead of tossing them, or going crazy repairing them, I stick them away until I need filling. Once the toy has been depleted of it’s stuffing, I put the body away – haven’t figured out what to do with that though. I hope to make a big floor cushion soon, so I’m thinking they’ll be a big part of the filler.

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