The U.S. is the third largest consumer of concrete in the world, behind India and China. It's a simple mix of water, sand, aggregate, sometimes small amounts of additives or air, and typically 10 to 15% cement. One of the waste streams that results from this production is empty cement bags. In the U.S., that waste amounts to 39 million empty bags per year. Concrete Mode is a small craft company that has found a way to repurpose some of those bags.
Operating from Bangkok, Thailand, Concrete Mode collects empty cement bags, which are strong, tear resistant and waterproof, and turns them into different kinds of bags — shopping bags, messenger bags, iPad cases, pencil totes and more. The bags are washed with a mild detergent and sun dried before use. The bags are designed in a way to take advantage of their original artwork.
I realize this is just a small reduction in the hundreds of millions of tons of construction waste produced worldwide each year. But I believe every little bit counts. And I commend people who look for unique ways to reduce, reuse and recycle waste products.