I have to admit I fell for their looks first.
But after I started using jute bags to collect my gardening "garbage," I was happy to learn they also are a smart and eco-friendly choice—a great alternative to plastic or paper waste bags. Perfect for hauling garden debris and storing vegetables, they are biodegradable, breathable, and strong enough to be put into use for sack races. And, after the garden cleanup is over, the bags can be used to cover or wrap plants to prevent them from freezing in winter.
Above: Woven jute (a very strong vegetable fiber), better known as burlap, or in the UK as Hessian, is still widely used on farms, orchards, and in the produce and coffee industries because of its strength, elasticity, and total breathability. Image via Made in Jute.
Above: Open mesh Jute Leaf Sacks for collecting and composting leaves and other garden debris: "Collect the leaves after a shower of rain and pack tightly into the sacks. Leave for a year, undisturbed, and they will rot down sufficiently to be added to the soil or spread as mulch." Made from 100 percent biodegradable natural jute; £1.90 each at Hen and Hammock.
Above: Washable Natural Jute Sacks are constructed with a strong overlock stitched hem. They measure 20 by 30 inches and are $8.50 for a set of two, or $16.95 for a set of four; available seasonally, they are currently out of stock at Garrett Wade.
Above: Consider Recycled Burlap Coffee Bags (approximately 27-by-40 inches) that have been used to store and transport real coffee beans, explaining the distressed appearance and rich coffee smell; $2.60 each at the Online Fabric Store.
Above: Cheaper by the dozen: simple 23-by-36-inch Burlap Bags are $18.25 for a 12-pack through Amazon.
Above: Also perfect for summer picnic races, Set of Two Natural Hessian Sacks is £4 at Hen and Hammock.
N.B. This is an update of a post that originally published on July 19, 2012.