World's Biggest Canvas Recycled Into Reusable Bags

shopping plastic bags tripoli lebanon photo

Shoppers carry plastic bags in Tripoli, Lebanon. Photo: Jennifer Hattam

After thousands of Lebanese left their handprints on a giant cloth last fall to break the world record for the largest hand-painted canvas, organizers of the Guinness Book of World Records-worthy feat were left with 4,355 square meters of fabric. Last week, they announced what they were going to do with it: Recycle the cloth into 5,000 reusable shopping bags."Today, we announce that the canvas was transformed and cut into 5,000 environmentally friendly shopping bags that can be used as an alternative to [plastic] bags," said Sami Dahdah, the president of the Lebanese Red Cross, which spearheaded the project along with a paint-company sponsor. He added that the new bags would be handed out for free in different parts of Lebanon.

Humanitarian & Environmental Initiative
"We now move from the phase of world records into a practical phase, to serve the environment and work to spread awareness of the dangers facing it," said Tinol Paints deputy president Wafa Saab, according to the Lebanese paper the Daily Star. (Hat tip to Middle East environmental news site Green Prophet for alerting us to the story.)

The campaign, "Hand to Hand to Make a Greener Difference," has a humanitarian angle as well as an environmental one: People who marked the canvas -- a group that included schoolchildren, members of civil-society organizations, and disabled Palestinian refugees -- had to sign a "promise to abide by the fundamental principles of tolerance, peace, and human rights," a Lebanese Red Cross volunteer told the Daily Star.

Put together in Beirut's Camille Chamoun Stadium, the canvas entered the record books Oct. 31, 2010, besting a 3,715.86-square-meter piece created in China.

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