Is your home overrun with used grocery bags?
We all try to be a little greener, but even if you’re trying to lead a zero-waste life, we still run into the grocery store unexpectedly.
No matter how on top of your game you are with your cloth grocery bags, you may still end up with a few plastic bags.
It’s okay because there are many remarkable ways to go about plastic bag recycling. The best way to start is by repurposing and reusing plastic bags. I’m going to share with you a few ideas on how you can put your plastic grocery bags to use.
Here’s how they can be reused around your home:
1. Take Them to the Grocery
You may have plenty of cloth grocery bags on hand, but if you end up with a few extra plastic bags, use them for their original purpose.
They were initially designed to carry groceries, and they can be used for this purpose more than once. Keep using them!
2. Car Trash Bags
If you’ve ever traveled with children, you know they can trash a vehicle in only a few short hours on the road.
Don’t travel in clutter. Instead, keep grocery bags on hand to be able to contain the trash in one easy spot.
3. Small Trash Can Liner
When you walk into my home, you’ll find small trash cans in the bedrooms, basement, and bathroom. I give my family no reason not to put their trash in the designated can.
However, I don’t want my trash cans to get dirty. Therefore, I use plastic grocery bags as liners for the smaller cans and contribute to plastic bag recycling.
4. Puppy Clean-Up
If you take your dog for walks, you’ve probably seen the signage where you’re asked to pick up after your pooch.
Instead of buying expensive doggy poop bags meant specifically for your dog, use your grocery bags. It’s free and will help keep your community clean.
5. Empty the Litterbox
This is the main thing I use plastic grocery bags for. My cats have a large litterbox, which makes it difficult to line.
Instead, we empty it daily and scoop the dirty litter into a plastic grocery bag. The bag is tied neatly and thrown away.
6. Dirty Duds Bag
This is another way I use plastic grocery bags regularly. When my family and I go on a trip, you’ll inevitably come home with some dirty clothes.
Instead of putting all the clothes in the suitcase and having to sort them at home, I put the dirty clothes in tied grocery bags. When you get home, it’s easy to toss them straight into the washing machine.
7. Packing Material
Are you planning a move in your future? Moving can be tough and making sure you get everything to your new home in one piece is difficult.
But if you stuff plastic grocery bags into boxes as packing material, it works well. If you have fragile items, place them in a grocery bag for extra cushion.
8. Block Dirty Diaper Odor
Though my children are far beyond the diaper stage, I haven’t forgotten the odor those cute bundles of joy can put off.
Don’t empty your trash every time you throw away a soiled diaper. Instead, wrap the diaper in a plastic bag for recycling as an extra odor shield.
9. Double Seal
When you’re taking a road trip, accidents can happen. For instance, if you’re traveling with pickles, if the jar opens, you’ll have pickle juice all over your suitcase.
Instead, open the jar and add a grocery bag as a second seal. This will give you an extra layer of protection and hopefully you’ll make it to your destination without smelling like pickles.
10. Weeds to Harvest
Grocery bags are helpful in your garden too. If you’re out and about in your garden trying to gather weeds, grocery bags are a great way to keep them together and get them to the chickens easily.
Even if you’re ready to harvest, you can pick your crops and carry them to your kitchen in a grocery bag. It’ll keep your arms free.
11. Help Shoes Stay in Shape
When summertime rolls around, your close-toed winter shoes will be ready to take their place on the backend of your shoe rack.
You can help them keep their shape by placing grocery bags in the toe section. If you have boots, stuff the entire boot with grocery bags.
12. Plunger Storage
If you have indoor plumbing, you need a plunger. The thing about plungers is they serve a purpose, but you don’t want them touching anything when they aren’t in use.
Keep your plunger stored neatly by placing it inside a grocery bag. You can store it in a closet or next to your toilet for easy use.
13. Mowing Buddy
We have a large yard, and we had to buy a nice mower to be able to handle the load. I’m a little particular about the mower being adequately cared for.
When we mow, grocery bags come in handy because instead of running over pinecones and other debris, we stop and pick it up. The debris can be neatly stored in a grocery bag until it’s placed in the compost.
14. Hand Protectors
If you must stick your hands in something sticky or unpleasant, gloves can make it an easier process. What if you don’t have gloves on hand?
Reach for your plastic grocery bags. Tie them around your wrist or forearms. It works well when washing dishes or cleaning toilets too.
15. DIY Cooler
Coolers are expensive, aren’t they? If you don’t use one regularly, it may not make sense to purchase one.
Instead, double bag two grocery bags together. Fill the bags with ice and place whatever needs to remain cool inside. Tie the bags, and you’ll have an easy DIY cooler.
16. Craft Stuffing
If you’re a crafty person, you know how expensive stuffing can be for projects. Don’t avoid making certain crafts because of this cost.
Instead, use your grocery bags as a stuffing agent for crafts. This can help you to avoid waste and save money in the process.
17. Painting Helper
When painting, it can be hard to keep the paint from splattering around your workspace. This is a time you’ll be glad you saved those plastic grocery bags.
You can cut them open with a pair of scissors and place them beneath the paint pan, which will help avoid splatter and not cost you a dime.
18. Sick Bag
If you’ve ever traveled when sick or with a sick child, you know it’s essential to keep the infamous ‘barf bag’ on hand.
Don’t ruin a good bag. Instead, pull out your plastic grocery bags. If anyone must get sick, you can wrap the bag up when they’re finished, and toss it.
19. Plant in It
Grocery bags make inexpensive planters. Poke a few holes in the bottom of the grocery bag and fill it with dirt.
Crisscross the handles and place the plant in between them. It will support the plant and give it a great place to grow, which cost you little.
20. Cast Protector
If you’ve ever broken a bone, you know the importance of keeping your cast dry. This can prove difficult when showering.
Don’t give up on bathing because of a cast. Instead, place a grocery bag over the cast, and it’ll protect it long enough for you to get clean.
21. Holder of the Clothespins
Line drying your clothes is a great way to do laundry without upping your electric bill. You must have clothespins.
But having a bag to hold them makes the process a ton easier. Don’t spend a fortune on a clothespin holder. Instead, use a grocery bag.
22. Yard Sale Bags
Are you planning on having a yard sale any time soon? Your shoppers will appreciate having a way to take their items home.
Instead of purchasing bags, save your grocery bags, and use them. It’ll make shopping at your yard sale much better.
23. Frost Protector
Frost is not what you want after you’ve planted your summer garden. You need to know your average frost dates.
But what if it’s later than usual? Don’t panic – reach for your grocery bags. Place the bags over the plants, and it’ll protect them from a late frost.
24. Meat Defroster
We freeze enough meat for our family for the year. Therefore, we eat from the freezer on a regular basis.
When you put meat in the refrigerator to defrost, it can make a mess in your fridge. Place the meat in a grocery bag and let it catch the mess as the meat defrosts.
25. Windshield Wiper Protector
If you live in a cold climate, you know the annoyance of getting in your car only to find it frozen. It takes a longer time for the windshield wipers to thaw.
Instead of waiting for long periods to be able to move your windshield wipers, place grocery bags over them to keep the ice off them.
26. Nonstick Baking Surface
Making bread is a great way to save money and feed your family a healthier diet. It can be difficult to keep the dough from sticking to your counters.
Instead, place the dough on a grocery bag. It’s a non-stick surface and will help contain the mess. When you’re done rolling out the dough, throw the bag away.
27. Flouring Agent
My stepdad made the best fried chicken before his stroke. Most people avoid making fried chicken because of the mess it makes.
However, he would flour his chicken in a grocery bag. This helped contain the mess, and he could easily throw the bag away when he was finished.
28. DIY Breadcrumbs Gadget
Do you have stale bread on hand you’re afraid is going to go to waste? Don’t let it sit there. Instead, make breadcrumbs from it.
You can place the bread in a grocery bag and use your rolling pin to turn the chunks of bread into crumbs.
29. DIY Snow Boots
I live in the south. We have some snow but nothing in comparison to the states north of us. Therefore, I don’t purchase my children snow boots because financially, it doesn’t make sense.
Instead, when we have our few snow days for the year, I put them in their work boots or tennis shoes and put grocery bags over them. It waterproofs their shoes and doesn’t require extra money.
30. Hair Salon Protector
When I was a little girl I’d go with my grandmother once a week to get her hair done. She carried a plastic rain bonnet in her purse because she wouldn’t want her hair to get damaged between beauty shop trips.
If she ever got caught outside when it started to rain and didn’t have her purse with her, she’d reach for a trusty grocery bag and put it over her head. It worked, and it can help protect your hair too the next time it rains.
31. Protects Your Floors
If you have people coming into your house with dirty boots because of the work they do, keep grocery bags on hand.
Let them grab the bags at the door to wear over their boots as protectors. It’ll keep your floors clean while they walk to where they can clean and store their boots.
32. DIY Lunchbox
This might not be the most glamorous way to pack a lunch, but it’s functional. When packing lunches, don’t spend a fortune on a fancy lunchbox.
Instead, place the lunch items inside a grocery bag. When the lunch recipient is done, they can toss everything in the garbage.
33. DIY Braided Rug
Are you in need of new rugs around your home? Is a smaller budget standing in your way? Don’t worry about the money.
Instead, reach for your grocery bags because they can be braided into an awesome DIY rug. This is a brilliant way to go about plastic bag recycling, as all those bags will not end up in the landfill.
34. Unused Appliance Protector
Do you have small appliances which aren’t used as frequently as some of your large appliances? I have a pantry in my basement where I store these unused appliances.
Instead of allowing them to collect dust, pull out your grocery bags for plastic bag recycling. They make brilliant appliance covers and should be ready to use in a moments notice.
35. Scrap Bowl
I live in a small home which means I have a small kitchen. When I prepare meals for my family, I work near my sink.
This works out because I can spread a grocery bag out in my sink, and it catches any scraps I may have. When I’m done, I grab the handles and take the scraps to my chickens.
36. Cheap Insulation
If you have a home with window units, you know how much cool air escapes during the summer through the windows.
But it also allows warm air to escape during the winter. Put grocery bags around the holes in the windows to stop air loss.
37. Perfect for Portioning Food
When I travel, my dog stays with our veterinarian. Instead of saying, “Give my dog X amount of food.” I’ll portion out her food ahead of time.
You guessed it! I don’t use Ziploc bags but my unused grocery bags. It’s free, they can be tied to close them, and it works great.
38. Protect Your Mirrors
If you live in a cold climate, you don’t want to wait on the side view mirrors of your vehicle to thaw before you can leave.
Stay ahead of the game by placing grocery bags over the mirrors. It will help keep the ice off your mirrors.
39. Save the Books
I’m an avid homeschooler. We’re on our fifth year now, and our family loves it! To save money, we take great care of our curriculum because I can use it for each child as they grow into it.
A book cover can help keep your books in great shape. You can (carefully) use an iron on low heat to seal the plastic grocery bag to the book.
40. Store Cleaning Supplies
Do you use old T-shirts and rags when cleaning? They make great dust rags and are great for cleaning mirrors.
You need a place to store the rags when they aren’t in use. Put them in a grocery bag, and they’ll be stored in a compact manner.
41. DIY T.P.
Most of us purchase our toilet paper from a local store. If you’re camping or find yourself in a different situation, it’s good to have back-up options.
Plastic grocery bags are waterproof. This makes them a great back-up option for toilet paper if needed.
42. Wrap Your Bread
I love making homemade bread in my bread machine. It saves me time and money. The only issue is it’s hard to find bags to store it in.
Instead of leaving the bread out to turn stale quicker, you can use a grocery bag for storage.
43. DIY Purse
Would you like to have a new purse, but you can’t afford one right now? Use what you have! Yes, plastic bag recycling can make an awesome looking purse.
You can cut the bags into strips and weave them to form a new purse or another shopping bag.
44. Plastic Rope
You don’t know when you’ll need a strong rope. If you’ve purchased rope lately, you know it isn’t cheap.
Don’t spend a fortune on a rope when you can make your own. Weave strips of grocery bags together to make a strong rope which could help you in a survival situation.
45. DIY Wreath
Decorating your home can become costly. Don’t spend a fortune when you could use what you already have.
Did you know you can make a gorgeous wreath with plastic bag recycling? You can, and you’ll enjoy the look.
46. Garden Knee Pads
When you work in the garden, it’s easy to get your clothes dirty yet it’s nearly impossible to get the stains out.
Avoid such stains by tying a grocery bag around each of your knees. This will keep the dirt off your knees when you’re crawling around in the garden.
47. DIY Plastic Wrap
When it’s time to clean up a meal, have you ever found yourself without plastic wrap to cover the dish?
Don’t throw out your leftovers. Instead, wrap a plastic grocery bag around and over the dish. It will help keep the bowl protected when being stored.
This may sound funny, but it will work. When you go to a nail salon, they’ll put lotion on your feet and hands.
When done, they put plastic gloves on those areas to help them retain the moisture. You can do the same thing at home with plastic grocery bags.
49. Camping Toilet
When you go camping or are out on your boat, it’s crucial to have a place to go to the bathroom. This is especially vital if you have a female in your group (speaking from experience here!)
Take a bucket and place a pool noodle around the edge of the bucket. You can slide a grocery bag in the bucket for an easier clean-up.
50. Help Your Neighbor
There are multiple organizations in your area which would be grateful to have your plastic grocery bags for plastic bag recycling. Many organizations have stores where they sell items to raise funds for their cause.
Instead of them having to pay for bags at these stores, by donating your grocery bags, it saves them money and is for a good cause.
51. Wrap Your Hair
On occasion, I’ll do a homemade conditioner routine for my hair. I mix up mayonnaise and eggs and rub it in my hair.
As I let this concoction sit in my hair, I wrap my head in a grocery bag to keep everything where it should be.
52. Basic Storage
If you have anything which needs a space to be contained together, grocery bags are what you need. They’re great for storing your children’s toys together.
But you can also use it to keep items together in your kitchen, bathroom, or even an office space.
53. Travel Toiletry Bag
You all may laugh at this, but when I travel, I don’t carry an extra bag for toiletry items. I consider plastic bag recycling instead, and just use a plastic grocery bag.
They’re waterproof, which is great if soap, lotion, or perfume spills. Plus, I can store it right in my luggage because it won’t get on my clothes if a spill occurs because of the waterproof capabilities of grocery bags.
54. Wet Clothes Storage
The last purpose for a plastic garbage bag is to store wet clothes. When you head to the pool, you don’t want to drop wet clothes in a bag.
Instead, take grocery bags along with you. You can place the clothes in the bags, and they’ll get home separate and without making everything else wet too.
Hopefully, this gives you a few ideas on how you can utilize the plastic grocery bags you have stored around your home.
Upcycling is a great habit to form, and with these ideas for plastic bag recycling, you’ll have added convenience and save money too.