A locally made, eco-friendly alternative to disposable bags
Photograph by Jamie West McGiver
Handmade in the Adirondacks, the Humble Procrastinator’s brightly colored sandwich pouches and beeswax wraps are lightweight, reusable options for outdoor adventures and basic daily use. Created by Kimberly Corwin Gray, of Lake Placid, the products make it easy to kick single-use plastics out of camping gear and lunch boxes.
Gray’s company launched in spring 2019 with a simple Facebook invitation to family and friends. After being inundated by requests for the environmentally friendly wares—attractive yet practical items made from hand-picked fabrics—Gray turned her creative passion for repurposing into a cottage industry. Anything a plastic bag can do, the Humble Procrastinator’s merchandise can replace.
Gray, donor relations manager for the Adirondack Land Trust, is an alum of Lake Placid’s North Country School, and she points to its emphasis on resourcefulness and the environment as an early influence. She’s mindful to shop locally and to produce less trash, hoping that each choice, no matter how small, will help leave a cleaner planet for the future—and for her children, 11-year-old River and 21-year-old Anabell.
“I like trying to find ways to be resourceful,” she says. “I like the creative side of it.” And as she developed items to reduce her own consumption, she realized that she could help others make the transition as well.
“When you’re on the trail you don’t normally see clothing or a scarf on the ground. People are very mindful to make sure their property gets back into their bag,” says Gray. “But people do leave trash, a plastic bag or paper towel. They may not be as careful making sure those remains get back into their pack. The reusable pouches and wraps are treated like other belongings and aren’t left behind because it’s not a disposable product.”
Gray, who has been sewing since she was young, experiments with practical replacements for her own family’s needs before debuting new pieces to the public. Her main product line includes reusable sandwich and snack pouches as well as beeswax wraps in three sizes, a breathable alternative to plastic wrap. She also makes shopping totes from grain bags recycled from Crane Mountain Valley Horse Rescue, in Westport, and Lake Placid’s Big Slide Brewery. Canvas from platform tents becomes bucket bags with handles of repurposed climbing rope. Local wool is felted into dryer balls to help reduce dryer sheet waste.
For outdoor adventures, Gray’s reusable muslin produce bags can hold anything from grains to veggies and easily mold to fit the available backpack space. To reduce weight for overnight camping trips, they can replace bulky metal or plastic containers.
Gray plans to explore additional eco-friendly options that make you want to “carry it in and carry it out,” whether you’re headed to the shop or the summit.
Find The Humble Procrastinator products at the Village Mercantile, in Saranac Lake, and Green Goddess, in Lake Placid. Or order directly on Facebook—@thehumbleprocrastinator—and, launching soon, www.thehumbleprocrastinator.com.