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How to Reuse Plastic Bags

Updated on March 3, 2014

Tips For Reusing Plastic Bags To Help The Environment

It is not difficult to reuse plastic bags, but people seem to believe they can't be reused. It seems that plastic bags existed forever. I think there is not one person that remembers a time without having them around either as shopping or grocery bags, or trash can bags or freeze bags, and so on.

Recently, however, plastic bags became a problem for our entire environment. The main problem with these bags is that they don't break down properly, they don't desintegrate as they should once thrown away. This means that bags are sitting in the bushes, in the forest, wherever people throw them away without a second thought, becoming a clear danger a  the animals who ingest them and to the eco-system as a whole.

One way people started to contribute to saving our environment is to reuse plastic bags, by properly recycling them and here we will see a few ways which you can contribute with as well. Afterall the Earth belongs to all of us and it should be in all our bests to keep it safe.

Photo credits

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: An Easy Household Guide

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: An Easy Household Guide (Chelsea Green Guides)
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: An Easy Household Guide (Chelsea Green Guides)
Do you know what happens to the stuff you recycle? This easy-to-use guide has answers to all your recycling questions.

The Sad Life Of A Plastic Bag - First watch these two videos before going on

reuse them as shopping bags
reuse them as shopping bags

Reuse Them as Plastic Shopping Bags

One of the best and easiest way to recycle your bag is to actually reuse it as a plastic shopping bag. Many supermarkets and grocery stores give you plenty of free bags with your shopping, and let's face it, most of these end up in the trash can, being considered as 'useless'.

I have at home a drawer full of these free bags and I always take some with me when I go shopping to the fruit market or bakery. By having them with me, I can use them to fill in the bags instead of asking the clerk to give me new ones.

You can reuse these bags until you feel that they are no longer safe. While some bags are very thin and can be reused maybe twice, others are quite sturdy allowing for several shopping trips before they are no longer usable

Photo credits

Recycling Plastic Bags

reuse as garbage bag
reuse as garbage bag

Reuse Them as Plastic Trash Bags

As I have several hundred plastic bags at home in a drawer, one of the things I use them for are for using them as plastic trash bags. There are many plastic bags in shops that specially cater to garbage disposal and I see that they are very popular. Although it might be 'in' to buy them, why not being more pro-environment and use some of your already existing bags?

Many of these fit the kitchen garbage cans and they make really good trash can bags. This way when you finally throw them out, you won't feel guilty of having contributed to the waste increase.

Photo credits

How A Nigerian Ecological Lover Reuses Plastic Bags - Watch and learn

plastic storage bags
plastic storage bags

Reuse Them As Plastic Storage Bags

There are so many things that we are not using on a regular basis, some even as little as once a year, such as Christmas decorations. Have you thought of using them for storing these things? Pastic storage bags are awesome to use for the special occasions

Christmas decorations, old clothes no longer needed, children's toys, all these can be easily stored in plastic bags. You don't have to always use carton boxes for storing them.

plastic barf bags
plastic barf bags

Keep Some in the Car As Barf Bags

I remember when I was a kid I was always carsick when traveling over a longer distance, particularly if I had to sit in the back. My mom had always a few barf bags handy for me, knowing that I could not stay longer than 50 miles before nausea gripped me.

Why not have a few bags constantly in one of the car's compartments and use it as an emergency bag? Beats having your car all dirty and messy when such an emergency happens.

Photo credits

Make A New Bag Out Of Old Shopping Plastic Bags

Plastic Bags Are Useful

Plastic bags were and remain useful to all of us. They are not bad, however if not used properly, they can harm our ecosystem. This is why reusing plastic bags is a great service to all of us. Do it if you have the opportunity.

Thank you for visiting my How to Reuse Plastic Bags to Help the Environment lens. Please leave your comments below.

How Are YOU Reusing Your Plastic Bags?

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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Very good ideas for reusing those plastic bags. I do like to recycle them and you have given me more ideas. Thank you! :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I am reusing plastic bags as bin liners for household waste. In Africa, plastic bags are also used by local crafters to hand craft a lot of things, from hats, place mates, fashionable bags to you name it -- Africans are creative!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Very important lens. Thank you for sharing this information.

    • Zebedee32 profile image


      7 years ago

      Great eco friendly lens!

    • parmaggie profile image


      7 years ago

      I love this lens. I have been wondering how people do that. Great video and explanation. I try to be very environment conscious and have written a lens on how to make make hot pads out of those things that hold six packs together. Thanks for the great info.

    • kerilovesadeal profile image


      8 years ago

      I enjoyed the video on recycling plastic bags into posts. A few places in my local area should adopt the process and make something useful. I wonder who in local government would be open-minded enough to see value in that type of recycling. I guess I'll just have to find out! Great lens!

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      We do reuse plastic bags that come into our house every way we can, but in the end, they must go to the recycling plant, which ships them overseas. Unfortunately, most bags that are sent for recycling, are never recycled, and many end up in our oceans, choking wildlife. Thank you for providing an informative page on ways we can reuse some of the plastic that comes into our lives.

    • kislanyk profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Cyprus

      @smithlights: Thank you so much for the honor smithlights!

    • smithlights profile image


      8 years ago

      Awesome lens! I'm going to add it to my 300 Fewer Bags lens. Thanks for sharing!

    • Staceysk profile image


      8 years ago

      I have actually run out of plastic shopping bags. They are not free here (you pay 5 cents each at the store) so I've been in the habit of bringing my own reusable bags for all of my shopping.

    • Eighteen18 profile image


      9 years ago

      lining my bin

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I have used my bags to make Chrismas decortions. I also use them to help with apcking. Why pay for storform or popcorn when the plastic bags works great. Than I can use them again for something else when unpacking. I also use them for trash bags. they are perfect size for my kids to take out and don't get that heavy. Whereas if I used the trash bags you can by at the store than I have to take out trash. I also like to put then on the table when the kids are painting. If they get any paint on them no big deal at least its not on my table. Then I just let the paint dry and find another use.

    • Anahid LM profile image

      Anahid LM 

      9 years ago

      Hi Thank you for visiting my lens, I watched the Nairobi plastic recycle video it is beautiful, my husband watched since they speak dutch, great work thank you. I use cloth bags while shopping, and I have a lens on reusable cloth bags and it already appears on this page.

    • Rockett LM profile image

      Rockett LM 

      9 years ago

      I never throw plastic bags away. When my stock of bags gets too big, I donate them to the local library. They recycle them and give them away so that borrowers have something to carry their stack of books in!

      I have a friend who made a floor mat with her bags. It looks great, and is outside her back door. If it gets dirty, she just hoses it down. Thanks for the great lens!!

    • sheriangell profile image


      9 years ago

      I try to use recycle bags when I go to the store but often forget to bring them when I'm just picking up a few things. I recycle plastic bags by using them as small garbage bags in our bathrooms as well as when I'm preparing food. I keep them in my vehicle for the endless "kid trash" that accumulates there. My kids use them to bring home stinky gym clothes and cleats in. We use them for so many things that we often run out of them!

      Lots of great information and ideas. Blessed by a Squid Angel today.

    • CruiseReady profile image


      9 years ago from East Central Florida

      I use plastic grocery bags to empty the used litter into when I change the kitty's box.

    • Violin-Student profile image


      9 years ago

      It is amazing how often you can find a use for plastic bags if you get creative. Separating wet items from dry / clean items from soiled. I carry one with me when i walk the dog for ... well, you know. I even slip my hand inside one when polishing shoes. Taking my hand out of the bag and tossing it is easier than scrubbing under those finger nails! Less soap and water used!

    • kislanyk profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Cyprus

      That's a great idea right there!

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 

      9 years ago from Vermont

      I use plastic bags for trash, to store damp items in my gym bag, to store flower bulbs, as cushioning when I send a package in the mail, to keep my hands clean when I paint and don't have any gloves, and for many other purposes. I don't have many, though, because I try to use my own shopping bags when I go to the store.


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