50 Uses For Plastic Bags
Recycle Plastic Bags
Plastic bags do not have to be used once and then discarded, ending up in a landfill. There are many uses for plastic bags, some of which will give plastic bags multiple or extended lives before finally being discarded. By following the tips below, you can limit the number of plastic bags you need/use and recycle the plastic bags you already own.
50 Uses For Plastic Bags
- Use as liners for small garbage cans in your home.
- Use in lieu of a diaper genie for used diapers (to contain the odor).
- Hang from a knob on one of your lower kitchen cabinet doors to hold and dry recyclables (tin, metal, paper, glass) that you have rinsed out.
- Store opened bags of dirt in plastic bags to prevent spilling after re-potting plants.
- Store other plastic bags in one (or more) plastic bags. Fold the plastic bag lengthwise in 1 inch sections, then tie to form a loose knot (please see picture below).
- Use in lieu of rubber gloves.
- Prevent wet paint brushes from drying out. If you are in the middle of a painting project and need to stop for a few minutes (no more than a few hours), tightly wrap the wet brush in a plastic bag.
- Place wet, used steel wool in a plastic bag to protect it from rusting.
- Store extra towels or rags in plastic bags in the kitchen, closet, garage, or basement.
- Store shoe polish and shoe cleaning items in a plastic bag to avoid staining other items.
- Pour flour or bread crumbs in a clear plastic bags and use to shake coating on food before baking/cooking.
- If you do not have a garbage disposal or have other food scraps, place them in a plastic bag before putting in the garbage, to reduce odors.
- Use as a funnel or to ice cakes, cookies, or cupcakes. Place items or icing into a clear plastic bag and snip off the corner.
- Re-use bread bags for home-baked breads or muffins.
- Use as a drop cloth when painting, re-potting plants, or chopping vegetables.
- Store craft and hobby items, like yarn, buttons, zippers, etc.
- Cut plastic bags into strips for arts and crafts. Some crafters weave the plastic bag strips into purses or rugs.
- Use as a purse caddy, if constantly shuffling certain items between purses, place them all in a plastic bag and just move the plastic bag from purse to purse.
- For items that need stuffing to retain their shape (i.e. purses), drop in a few loosely-knotted plastic bags.
- If you review mail weekly, place all the mail in a plastic bag until it’s time to go through it. As you recycle and/or shred junk mail, place the paper and envelopes into the plastic bag.
- Store clothing or other items that will be donated to charity.
- Cover casts on arms or legs to protect them from getting wet when taking a shower.
- If your boots are not waterproof, step into plastic bags (while wearing socks) before putting on your boots.
- Line your foyer or entry way with several plastic bags and place wet boots and shoes on the plastic bags to protect your floors.
- Store grass clippings or mulch.
- If kneeling when performing yard work, kneel on plastic bags to avoid grass stains and ruining your pants.
- Protect flowers and ripened fruit from frost and/or bugs.
- Place over car mirrors before snow or ice storms, so that you do not have to scrape your mirrors later.
- To capture trash in your car. Keep a few in the car, in case you need extra shopping bags and/or trash bags.
- Use long ones (bread bags, Subway sandwich bags, newspaper bags) to hold wet umbrellas when stepping in and out of the rain. Once you return home and open your umbrella to dry, turn the plastic bag inside out to dry as well.
- Use as a lunch sack and/or sandwich bag when you pack your lunch for work or school.
- Re-use plastic bags at the grocery store for produce, bulk items (if clear), and to bring home your groceries. You may receive discounts for bringing your own bag.
- To hold wet items (beach towels, swim suits, umbrellas, golf towels).
- Bring several plastic bags with you when shopping at a farmer’s market and/or running errands and making purchases at various stores (i.e. drug stores, sundry shops, hardware stores, etc.)
- Bring a plastic bag to a restaurant to carry leftovers home.
- Use as a rain bonnet if caught in the rain without an umbrella.
- Use as a rain poncho if caught in the rain without a raincoat.
- If you purchase gifts for people throughout the year, segregate and organize small gifts by person and/or holiday in plastic bags.
- Store holiday items together. Place individual sets of lights in separate bags to avoid tangling. Store wreaths and other items that may shed in plastic bags.
- To store like-items when traveling (i.e. pack all of your socks into one plastic bag).
- To protect shoes when traveling—place each shoe in a separate plastic bag in your luggage.
- To use as a laundry bag when traveling—place all of your dirty clothes in one plastic bag.
- To store opened bags of kitty litter and/or cat or dog food.
- Use to pick up after your pet. Turn the bag inside out in your hand and wear like an oven mitt to grab the dog poo. Flip the bag with your other hand, tie it, and dispose properly.
- Line a cat box.
- Wrap items individually before packing/moving.
- Use as packing material (the soft-knotted ones from your storage bag) for presents, packages, and moving boxes.
- Use large garbage bags as drycleaner bags—poke a hole in the middle of the bottom and place several hanging items in one bag (the hooks from the hangers should stick out of the hole) when moving and/or transporting clothes.
- Donate. Libraries give plastic bags to patrons on rainy days to protect books. Food pantries use them to store canned goods and send people home with groceries. Animal shelters use plastic bags to hold used kitty litter and/or feces. You can also donate plastic bags to daycare centers, dog parks, thrift stores, etc.
- Once the plastic bag has reached the end of its useful life, drop it off in a recycling bin at a store that recycles plastic bags.
How To Knot and Store Plastic Bags
See photos for assistance with each step.
1. Fold the plastic bag lengthwise several times to form a 1 inch wide strip.
2. Fold the 1 inch wide strip bag in half.
3. Begin to tie a knot but leave one end in the knot area.
4. Finish the knot by leaving the other end in the knot area.
5. The finished bag should look like a garlic knot. Place as many of these knotted plastic bags into another bag to store. Or see below for other storage ideas for your plastic bags.
Plastic Bag Holder and Dispenser
Drop your knotted plastic bags into the holder/dispenser for easy storage. This unit is pretty enough to be openly displayed or can be hidden by being mounted on the inside of a cabinet door (I keep mine on the back of the cabinet door under my kitchen sink) or in a pantry or closet.
How To Tie a Loose Knot
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