Bean Bag

Time Frame

8 weeks


August Majtenyi

Leila Akberdin

During this project, we were tasked with designing a sustainable housewares product to be sold at a Holiday Market put together by The Ohio State University's Department of Design.


We were asked to design and build ten of the products to be sold at the market with a budget of $60.


The Bean Bag is a sustainable grocery bag that is intended to not only be made from sustainable practices but to also promote and inspire sustainable behaviors. 


The Bean Bag is a biodegradable structure made of discarded burlap and coated with bio-plastic. The design of the bag features convertible straps that can change the bag from a normal handbag to a backpack. This is intended to make it easier for users to bike or walk to the grocery in an effort to decrease emissions from car commutes. 


Additionally, the bag aims to promote sustainable grocery shopping habits by mimicking the United States’ “My Plate” nutritional guidelines through removable dividers. The dividers feature larger sections for produce and smaller sections for protein to nudge towards decreasing the environmental impact of consuming meat.



Overall Insights
  1. Most of the waste in the household occurs in the kitchen

How might we inspire sustainability in the kitchen?

Users find joy in creating as little waste as possible

How might processes in the kitchen be improved to reduce waste and increase sustainable practices?

Initial primary research was conducted during the first half of the semester. The full research methodology can be found here.


Through our research, it was evident that there was an opportunity to further decrease waste in the kitchen. Then, when we came across discarded burlap at a local coffee shop, we determined this would a great material to aid in doing so. The burlap we found was a by-product of the coffee distribution system and readily available at Stauf's coffee shop for free. Additionally, burlap is made from biodegradable natural fibers; making it environmentally friendly. This, coupled with unique prints based on the origin of the coffee bean, offered the opportunity to make a product that offers a personal eco-friendly story.



When we settled on using burlap, we began to ideate on its possible uses. Eventually, we began looking into creating a bag. Additional research was conducted at a Whole Foods grocery store to understand why people use reusable grocery bags and what they enjoy about grocery shopping.

Initial Concept
bag sketch.jpg

User Research

Additional design research techniques were implemented to understand what users need when grocery shopping.


Product Development

Initial Prototype
Form Exploration
Material Refinement

A bio-plastic coating was developed and tested to address the issue of burlap shedding through sustainable means. The various methods below were used to determine the ideal recipe.


Final Product

Our Final product was the Bean Bag, a biodegradable grocery bag intended to promote sustainable shopping habits and decrease waste in the kitchen.