Enterprising owner creates handbags from old feed sacks

A resourceful horse owner is riding the recycling trend by turning empty feed sacks into yard and shopping bags.

Diane Thomas transformed her empty Equiglo quick-soak beet sack into a reuseable carrier and has since made several bags for friends and relatives.

“Beet bags are made of nice thick woven plastic and I used to use them to take things to competitions but they are a bit deep — at first I was just planning to chop it down but then I thought they’d make a good shopping bag as they have a nice square bottom,” Diane explained.

“I didn’t measure it up or do anything technical, I just compared it to a supermarket bag, chopped it down and then make the handles from the extra bits of material.

“My biggest tip is to staple the handles in place before stitching so it all stays in place.”

She added that as well as bags, the water-resistant sacks are ideal for making bunting to help de-sensitise spooky horses or train them for handy pony classes.

Simon Parker of the feed’s manufacturer Henry Bell said the company was impressed by their customer’s upcycling skills.

“The brand has secured a loyal following among horse owners and riders since it was launched in 2017 and we are delighted that Diane has found such a novel way of extending the life of our bags and putting them to such good use,” he said.

The bag is just one of many items for which Diane, whose parents are farmers, has found new uses around the yard.

“I often look at something and think it should be something else,” said Diane, who is based in Bedfordshire and works for a company that delivers eggs.

“My parents are not horsey and growing up I was always a bit skint for pony jumps and like many people I would always be looking out for barrels and buckets to use as wings and fillers.

“It’s a habit I never grew out of and even now I use shipping crates from my work to make jumps.”

Diane also likes to use supplement tubs to pre-measure feed for her chestnut warmblood Jerry when she is away, as well as using baling twine to make haynets.

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“Some of our baling twine we give to our local thatcher, who uses it to tie up bundles but I do make haynets with it as well,” she said. “It takes about half an hour and is quite therapeutic, like brushing through a thick tail!

“You can use a lighter to seal off the ends of the twine and if you use different coloured strands it makes it easier.”

Another of Diane’s yard hacks is to use the plastic inserts from rolls of carpet to make jump poles.

“Carpet shops throw out a lot of these,” she said. “You can use sticky-backed plastic to add colour and weight them with sand in a bag if needed.

“I have also used the corrugated plastic signs from estate agents, painted blue to make a water tray and  an old artificial Christmas tree from a charity shop to make a brush fence — you can secure it in place in a frame using expanding foam.”

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