Friday, March 8, 2013

Zero Waste Product Shout-Out: Furoshiki Wraps

This post, summed up in one picture.

Stripe Furoshiki

(image source)

Few people are familiar with furoshiki, but once you learn about them, it's likely you'll find them indispensable in your zero waste life. A furoshiki is a square piece of cloth used to wrap, cushion, and package various items. These wraps can be only a few inches square, or be several feet across. Originating in Japan, but having common counterparts around the world, "furoshiki" translates roughly to "bath mat", as squares of fabric were initially used to wrap clothing, toiletries, and personal effects while at public baths. Later on, these cloths were used to pack Bento boxes, carry purchases home from the market, and even as suitcases and storage padding. In essence, we know furoshiki by the name "bandanna" or "kerchief", though it's unlikely you've ever used a bandanna as often or as versatily as a furoshiki.

Personally, I love the knot-wraps from Lush, as they were my first real introduction to furoshiki, and came with a handy little card showing me a few basic wraps. From there I found a website devoted exclusively to furoshiki, including a large directory on how to tie them, and a huge selection to purchase. Lastly, I love the site Furochic, and the creator's accompanying book Wrapagami for their beautiful, innovative, and ingenious wrapping techniques. Really though, one piece of square cloth and a few minutes spent with some Youtube instructional videos, or some books from Amazon, and you'll be wrapping and carrying all your treasures in no time.

Since picking up a few furoshiki of various sizes, I use them as headbands, scarves, toiletry bags, gift wrap, bottle carriers, tote bags, cushions for delicate items, picnic spreads, seat covers, and even once as a party dress. I keep one tied to the strap of my bag to add some appeal and whimsy, and have found it a nifty way to always keep one with me. I never know what use I'll have for a furoshiki, but I'm finding new ideas every day.

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