Plastic bags—while handy in the moment—are taking up a lot of space in our landfills and in our cabinets. Reusable totes do away with the need for the pesky plastic, but people often forget them at home—leading to the acquisition of even more plastic.

So what do we do with all the excess? German designer Stefanie Rittler has one solution: Take a useless plastic bag and transform it into some stylish new arm candy. Called Streetplastic, Rittler's hand-operated machine cranks out new bags boasting interesting patterns and designs. 

To get it started, the user feeds one fresh white bag into the mouth of the machine. A used color bag is put into a funnel at the top, which leads to a shredder. The cut-up pieces are then fused with the white bag using heat, and a fancy new bag pops out the other side. 

Of course, this project is more artistic than practical. Since it takes a brand new bag to recycle an old bag, the net environmental impact is kind of a wash. Still, its premise forces a conversation about what we're going to do with all these plastic bags. 

[h/t: Co.Design]