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Archive July 2019 XX, No. 7

Ideas That Work: Purposeful Repurpose

Turn Blue Wrap Into Blue Tote Bags

Overlook Medical Center
SEWING MACHINE From hems to handles, Tami Ochs, RN, (top) can make about 6 blue wrap tote bags in an hour. The bags are given to discharged patients and sold in the hospital's gift shop.

When I noticed patients who visited our hospital's emergency department carried their personal belongings home in single-use plastic bags, I knew there had to be a more sustainable solution. That's when I decided to make tote bags out of used blue wrap, mounds of which pile up in our surgical department. Melissa Bonassisa, RDMS, supervisor of the hospital's medical imaging department and a member of our hospital's green team, collects the blue wrap and passes it along to me. I can make about a half-dozen bags in an hour, although we're organizing a sewing club of volunteers to increase production levels. (Editor's note: Build your own bags by downloading Tami's step-by-step pictorial guide at Patients now walk out the door with totes made of upcycled blue wrap. We also sell the bags in the hospital gift shop for $2.99, with all proceeds used to pay for the supplies needed to make even more bags. I've also built prototypes of blue wrap rain slickers and sleeping mats, which we plan on making and handing out to those in need within our community.

Tami Ochs, RN
Overlook Medical Center
Summit, N.J.

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