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18 Ways to Reuse Plastic Bags

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18 Ways to Reuse Plastic Bags

Here in the U.S. alone, we use around 100 billion plastic grocery bags every single year. While some cities have banned the bag, most of us aren’t lucky enough to live in a town that’s nixed those ubiquitous, flimsy grocery bags.

Despite always bringing a reusable bag to the store, plastic grocery bags seem to make their way into my life. Maybe a well-meaning friend uses one to bring over snacks for a night of board games or I accept a used one to tote some goodies home from an unexpected garage sale.

No matter what the reason, I can never bring myself to get rid of all of that plastic. If you’ve got an ever-growing collection of plastic bags making you feel guilty, too, don’t despair! Here are some practical and crafty ways to use those bags over and over, and you can share your favorite ways to reuse plastic bags in the comments!

1. Dirty Clothes – Stick a plastic grocery bag into your suitcase to tote home your dirty clothes while you’re on vacation. It’s nice to be able to separate your clean clothes from dirty ones, and this lets you do it without taking the plastic bag that most hotels provide.

2. Make Plarn – You can cut those bags up and make yourself a ball of plastic yarn for use in all sorts of knit and crochet projects. How cool would it be to upcycle a flimsy plastic bag into a well-made, crocheted one?

3. Fuse It - You can use your iron to turn those plastic bags into durable fabrics.

4. Scoop the Litter Box – Flushing cat litter is a bit controversial, since cat waste contains toxins that’s harmful to aquatic life, and unfortunately, scooping is a fact of life for cat owners. You’ve got to put that smelly litter somewhere. You’re probably using a plastic bag already, so you may as well RE-use one instead.

5. In the Glove Box – If you or someone in your family is prone to car sickness, you can keep a plastic grocery bag in the glove box, just in case you’re not able to pull over in time to avert disaster.

6. At Concerts – Amphitheater shows and multi-day music festivals come with a lot of waste, and the trash and recycle bins seem to always overflow by the end. Instead of piling your empties on top of an overflowing bin, use a plastic grocery bag to take your recyclables home at the end of the show.


Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by groundsel

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Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Like this article? You can follow Becky on Twitter or find her on Facebook!


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10:37PM PDT on Jul 31, 2015

Cheers! You have really allured me; I have no words to explain my feelings about your post.
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3:34AM PST on Mar 7, 2015

I used to throw the plastic bags but when I got your methods knew many things for reusing these plastic bags thanks for this. Polyvisions Inc

6:51PM PST on Jan 24, 2015

I use them exclusively for all my trash. I also carry my lunch in these bags. They make a good surface to eat lunch off...instead of a paper mat. Then you can put your trash in them.

Use 1x-carry grocieries
Use 2x-carry lunch to work
Use 3x-plastic mat to eat lunch off
Use 4x-carry the trash from lunch

So you can use a bag that's recycling

9:43AM PST on Jan 28, 2014

Great tips--thanks.

3:30AM PST on Jan 25, 2014

Thank You.

1:33PM PST on Nov 9, 2013

Some good tips,thanks for sharing

8:58AM PDT on Sep 2, 2013

I use the plastic bags that some produce comes in to collect the trimmings when I am chopping vegetables. I also use them to store veggies that are only half consumed. We never throw out a plastic bag after a single use. I really prefer using reusable shopping bags like those at

11:42PM PST on Feb 24, 2013

Love these! I included them on my blog too.

12:44PM PST on Feb 11, 2013

I use a great product called Handi Hanger to reuse grocery bags for trash or storage. Check it out at It's an earth friendly product that also saves you money.

10:12AM PST on Jan 21, 2013

Good ideas! Thanks!

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people are talking

Thank you.

Don't stop this is so relaxing. Thank you for caring and sharing.

Thanks Lisa.

This is amazing and totally "news to me". I am totally going to see if we can get it in our local In…

I try to avoid the "bad" carbs and eat a wide range of healthy foods.


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