It’s In the Bag

Identity by Emily Watson

It’s in the Bag is an open design competition for students at the Rhode Island School of Design to explore how plastic shopping bags can be reused, remanufactured or recycled, rather than finding their way into landfills. Students from any department and any division, working in teams or individually are invited to submit proposals.

Problem Statement
Around the world nearly 1 billion plastic shopping bags are given out each day. While many are used more than once, few are recycled. It’s in the Bag invites the re-imagination of the plastic bag, not as a disposable item, but a raw material for new uses.

The competition is inspired by the efforts of cartonero (or trash picking) collectives in Buenos Aires who make their living collecting garbage and recyclables but who are not paid for bags. (see

Design Brief
Make something new and inventive out of plastic bags. You may manipulate the bags any way you wish – cut, mash, weave, press. Your final product may be a material, an object or an environment. continued…

There are two categories for entries: “open” and “cartonero.” Submissions in the open category will be judged for their creative reuse of the plastic bag and the level of formal invention in the resulting product.  Cartonero submissions will also be evaluated for their potential usability by cartonero collectives in Buenos Aires.

How to Enter
Entries are due April 28. All submittals must include:

  • Three (3) images of the product
  • Descriptive Text
  • Cartonero category submissions must also include:

  • Photo sequence showing how the product is assembled or made.
  • For more information

  • download the competition package
  • or email respond design.