We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a Gunny Sack?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A gunny sack is a bag made from burlap. These sacks have a number of uses, although they were originally developed to ship agricultural commodities such as coffee, corn, wheat, and potatoes. Because of the primary construction material, they are sometimes known as burlap bags, and regionally as crocus sacks, after an agricultural product which used to be frequently shipped in them. The name originates from a Sanskrit word, goni, which means bag or sack. The word was adopted by the English in the 1700s, along with other Sanskrit words which entered the English language due to the colonization of India.

Burlap is a type of dense, woven fabric, usually made from natural fibers like jute. The dense weave has immense tensile strength, meaning that the bags are difficult to destroy or distort from heavy weights. A gunny sack is also flexible, however, because of the natural fiber, and very environmentally friendly. The fibers used tend to be non-toxic, and the bag will ultimately biodegrade. The sacks are also usually extensively recycled, as they have many potential uses.

In addition for use in the agricultural industry, gunny sacks are also used in environmental remediation. The sack can be filled with sand to form a flood barrier, or filled with soil and used as a substrate for cover grasses to check erosion from steep hills and cliffs. Its uses in erosion control are myriad, especially since the sacks can naturally biodegrade as more permanent measures are installed over them, such as grass or rock. They are also cheap, making them highly suitable for use in developing countries.

The gunny sack is also used as a decorative or recreational item. Children's races use gunnysacks for sack racing, and some interior decorators incorporate the sacks and burlap into design schemes for homes with a rustic feel. Because of the coarse weave, burlap is not suitable for wearing, as it can irritate the skin, despite the popular fiction of impoverished women wearing gunny sack dresses.

Homeowners and gardeners sometimes find it useful to have a gunny sack or two around. The sacks can be used to wrap objects for transit so that they are not damaged, or to line garden beds to deter invasion by underground pests, such as gophers. Many companies which receive deliveries in these sacks will give them away for free to people who ask for them, and some garden supply stores also carry them. If you are using a recycled gunny sack, you may want to check on what was shipped it before, especially if the sack is being used in the garden. Stray seeds and kernels could sprout, potentially disrupting your garden beds.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a About Mechanics researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon4585 — On Oct 24, 2007

the first thing i thought of was what used to be called a poke, a bag.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.