Do you have plastic bags taking up space in your home and don’t want to just toss them out? There are so many ways to reuse your plastic bags and today I’m happy to share them with you!
Ways to Reuse Your Plastic Bags
If you are like most families, you probably have a million plastic bags hanging around your house. That’s why you need some great tips on how you can reuse those plastic bags!
It seems like no matter how hard we try, we still end up with some plastic bags around our home. I do have this cute and functional set of reusable bags that I keep in the car for shipping trips, but sometimes those get forgotten or your cashier seems a bit confused when you tell them “no plastic” (yes, this just happened to me last week!).
How to Reuse Plastic Bags
1. Give Them a Second Life
It may be your first instinct to throw away those plastic bags after you use them. However, give reusing them a second thought. There are so many chances to reuse those plastic bags a second time. Let me give you a few ideas.
Keep a few plastic bags in your diaper bag, glove compartment, and in your car. You never know when you will need a bag to put something in. Honestly, plastic bags are perfect for those really stinky smells that you need to conceal before you take the garbage completely out.
2. Recycle Them
Just because you don’t have a use for those plastic bags, give someone else a chance to reuse them. There are several recycling options when it comes to plastic bags. Recycle them at your local grocery store, independent recycling center, or even ask around to see who else could reuse the plastic bags you have sitting around your home. Many smaller grocery stores, health food stores, and thrift stores would be very grateful to reuse your plastic bags!
3. Trash Bags
Maybe you don’t think sticking a grocery bag in a garbage can looks very classy, but it’s a great way to save the environment another plastic bag. Also, don’t forget by reusing these plastic bags as trash bags, you can save a few bucks. I like to use mine in the bathroom trash can, it’s just the right size!
4. Pet Scooper
Who says you need those fancy bags to scoop up after your dog or cat? Plastic grocery bags are thicker than those thin scooping bags. You might even save yourself from getting a close encounter with some of your dog’s waste.
–Find more Frugal Pet Care tips here.
Moving soon or think you will be moving someday? Nothing makes for a better packaging device than grocery bags. They are light, fluffy, and make for a great cushion. Plus, if you save up a ton over time, you will have enough to pack all your valuables in for your next move. You can also use plastic bags for shipping fragile stuff through the USPS. I especially like them for packing versus paper because you don’t get ink on your fingers or your items! We also like to pack hubby’s lunch in them when he needs to grab it and go.
6. Free Stuffing
Have a project that you are working on? Maybe a little dog bed or something else that needs some stuffing? Polyester stuffing can get expensive, especially if you have a large project. If plastic stuffing will work for your project it can be a great, money-saving alternative!
7. Quickie Wet Bag
If you are using cloth diapers or cloth pads and are at the store but forgot a wet bag, what do you do? Always carry a plastic bag in your purse, you never know when you might need it! I also like to have one in my purse for days when we are in the car for a long time and will need a handy trash bag to clean up when we stop somewhere with a trash can.
8. Help Protect Your Plants
If the weather calls for a light frost and you have plants outside that need to be protected, a simple layer using a plastic bag can be just what they need. Just remember to have a way to stake the bag down over the plant if it’s going to be windy. We’ve done this many times!
–Find more Frugal Gardening tips here.
9. Keep the Frost Away
If you don’t have a garage or an indoor place to park your car and you know the weather is going to be cold and wet/snowy, take a plastic bag and place it over each of your car’s side mirrors to protect them from frosting over. It will save you so much time in the morning if you need to go somewhere.
10. Makeshift Knee Pads
If you plan to be out working in your flower beds or around your garden and are going to be doing plenty of kneeling, you can tie the bags around your knees to keep your pants from getting stained and dirty. While it won’t do much to pad your knees, it can help to extend the life of your pants.
11. Fill in Gaps
If you find gaps in the walls, windows, and doors where cold air is coming through and you aren’t able to fix them another way right away, you can always stuff the gaps with plastic bags until you can fix the problem.
–Get more tips on Winter Weather Preparedness here.
12. Braid Them
There are so many different fun things that you can make with plastic bag braids such as baskets or jump ropes. Start braiding and let your imagination take over!
Does all this reusing really help? Yes! Did you know that less than 9 percent of grocery bags are recycled in the United States according to the EPA? Plastic bags can often be reused several times without ruining them. After you are done, simply recycle them. Plus you can save yourself a little money by coming up with new ways to reuse your plastic bags instead of buying something else.
If you are planning on hanging on to your plastic bags to store them until you can reuse them, you might want to make one of these cute Easy Bag Holder Sewing Pattern to keep them in. It’s such a handy little thing to store lots of bags in!
Want to get some reusable bags so that you aren’t bringing so much plastic home. This Folding Reusable Bag set is my favorite because they are so easy to store in my car or purse!
What ways do you reuse your plastic bags?
This blog post on Reusing Plastic Bags was originally posted on Little House Living in September 2013. It has been updated as of September 2019.