Uses for Plastic Grocery Bags

Reusing plastic grocery bags is a great way to help the environment and reduce trash in the landfills. There are many ways you can reuse these bags that can help save you money. This is a guide about uses for plastic grocery bags.

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A bunch of plastic bags to be made into plarn.Save money on rubber and plastic! Want to re-purpose and re-use those plastic grocery store bags and get the most bang for your buck? Here are some answers that are sure to make you smile. When you get home from the store or pharmacy, don't just wad up those bags and throw them away. Tuck all of your bags inside of ONE bag and wait until you need them. Here are some great uses!

  1. Use to separate and store meat that you have purchased. Make a sink or basin of warm, soapy water with bleach. Insert your hand into several of the bags (individually) and wash them in the water. Immerse in rinse water and let them dry just a little bit in the drain rack. Spray the outside of the bag (which is actually the inside) with cooking spray (or grease with a small amount of oil), insert your hand inside, and pick up the meat! Your hand never touches the meat. Pull out the amount you are going to separate, remove your hand, express any remaining air, then knot and tie the bag. Take a second bag and insert the tied bag inside then knot and tie again to ensure that there are no freezer burns when you freeze it.
  2. Use to store leftovers. Depending upon the thickness of the bag, store the not-so-juicy dinner leftovers. If you have something like soup that is not "too" thin, use the double-bag process again. You can store or freeze.
  3. Use to store opened pasta, rice, beans and chips. Have a half open bag of rice or pasta? A half open bag of beans, cereal, chips? Just slide that open bag inside of one of the store bags. Make sure you have "twisted" the open bag, then grab the grocery bag at the bottom (closest to the open bag), twist, knot and tie. You don't have to worry about the little weevils or your chips becoming stale! I kept one giant bag of chips for over a month, and the last chip was just as fresh as the first! The secret is getting rid of all the air before you tie it.
  4. Use them for dirty jobs. We had a septic back-up and needed to remove a toilet full of "wadded up" toilet tissue. You know it! I double-bagged them, tied them at my arm, took two more double bags, pulled out the clogged tissue, inserted it into the other two double bags, removed the "hand bags" from the inside out, tied the "receiving" bag, and my hands never touched any of the stuff from the toilet!
  5. Use them in the garden. If you can't find your gardening gloves, or if you don't own a pair. Tie them at the wrist and get busy.
  6. Use them to wash dishes. Again, tie at the wrist or higher.
  7. Use them to moisturize. Wash hands thoroughly, apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to hands, wrap hands in bag for fifteen to thirty minutes and the end result will be astonishing!
  8. Use for housecleaning. Don't want to get cleaning supplies on your hands? Use the bags. Wipe down your furniture with furniture polish (or olive oil and lemon if you're like me), clean the bathrooms, sinks, etc. and protect your hands with your self-made mittens.
  9. Use for insulation. I filled a crack that otherwise would have been too large by pushing a few bags into it, then finishing off with caulk.
  10. Use for lunches. Wrap a sandwich in a paper towel (or if you're a little more green - in a home-made cloth napkin) and removing all the air, knot and tie. Sandwich will remain fresh until lunch time.
  11. Use for dirty clothes. On a trip? Pack a few bags and as you take off your dirty undies, shirts, etc., store and tie dirty clothes then tuck away in an inconspicuous place in your bag.
  12. Use to store paint rollers. Store clean rollers to keep them pliable and soft.
  13. Use as trash bags. Of course, this is the most common use of all. Use them around the house in your small trash bins as trash bags.

Well, there you have it. There are many more uses for plastic bags. If you want more, I can certainly give them to you. These are just a few. Use your own creativity and see what you can come up with.

Don't forget, after you have used them up, put them all in ONE bag and recycle. This tip will not only help the planet, but it will keep a lot more money in your pocket over the coming year.

By FranFran from Zebulon, Georgia

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Uses for plastic grocery bags (the one time use/disposable)

  1. To carry groceries home: Most can be used more than once to get groceries home.

  2. For Trash: Use in small wastebaskets around the house and in the kitchen. I have a flat lidded 30 gallon wastebasket and put a bag on top of the flat lid. I toss trash in the bag then when done tie the bag and toss it in the trash bin. I empty the 30 gallon once a week on trash day

  3. In the car: This is great if you have kids because it does not take room and they can put snacks in it to bring into car then dispose of the wrappers in the bags=easy cleanup

  4. Wet things: Such as muddy shoes, wet umbrella, wet clothes from the beach etc.

  5. To prevent something from getting wet

  6. Taking soggy food home: I also use the reusable "green" bags but use the plastic bags to take produce and meat home.

  7. Instead of paper lunch bags

  8. Save the more colorful ones or ones that say thank you on it and use as gift wrap for harder to wrap items-wrap in several bags then tie in same spot at top and then cut the loops to make a pouf(many how tos are online ). *this idea can be done with paper bags, inside out chip bags, aluminum foil,cereal boxes etc.

  9. As backing for a rug that needs to be waterproof on bottom-just duct tape bags on underside(be careful using on wood floor as plastic can scratch).

  10. Draft stopper for door/window: Fill several (clean)bread bags with plastic bags tape together to make long tube of plastic filled bread bags. In the bread bags at the end, put some sort of weight(kitty litter/charcoal deodorize) also tied in bag. Or you can do what I do and tape to door instead of weight.

  11. Make a kite or wind sock

  12. Make a place mat with paper bag, tape and plastic bag.(great for kids art project they can make however big they want -use with plastic side up for casual dinners they can even decorate with permanent markers)

  13. Make a door mat: Only if you have lots of bags and time (instructions exist online).

  14. I have four dogs, which means lots of cleanup. Here they have places where you put plastic bags so that people walking their dogs in parks can use them to pick up after their dog's mess.

  15. If all else fails recycle them in places provided (you know, the ones by entrances of stores.

Source: Some from this website, etsy.com for some of the art projects, my own ideas and my friends' because no one likes waste.

By caeridwen from Kent OH

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Our family has recycled grocery plastic bags as trash bags for years. We use small plastic trash container about 12 inch diameter and 14 inches high. We have one in each bathroom, kitchen and laundry room.

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I'm posting this information as a plea for our environment. Please check out the video and you will see how our using plastic shopping bags is hurting our world, our wildlife, and poisoning our environment.

I have great doubt our plastic bags are even recycled when we put them in those bins -- it costs sooo much to recycle plastic bags compared to the cost of making them outright. I wish someone would take on the task of following a plastic shopping bag from being put into a recycle bin to actually being recycled.

I personally use small mesh bags I purchased at the Dollar Tree years ago (no longer available anywhere - can't find 'em on-line). They are sturdy, can be washed, and I carry 8-10 in my purse (very portable). One bag will hold 10 cans of green beans when shopping! Please think on this!

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I like to recycle plastic grocery bags in my kitchen garbage container. I bought a package of self-adhesive plastic cup hooks at the dollar store and put two on the inside of the trash can on the right and two more on the left.

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There have been several tips on reusing these bags. If you go to YouTube and check out this video and many of the others you will be sick at what we are doing to Mother Earth.

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Now that there are only two of us in our household, we have downsized our kitchen garbage container for the kitchen. We have a medium-size plastic bucket that fits perfect under the kitchen sink; out of sight and out of way.

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Recycling is very important to me, sometimes to the dismay of my husband, who complains about clutter. The plastic grocery bags accumulate, even though I mostly use cloth bags.

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When we were kids and wanted to play outside in the rain or snow, we didn't have boots. My mother would put plastic bags over our socks then put our shoes on then cover the plastic bags up with our pants.

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I have been able to keep my car cleaned up, by hanging a plastic grocery bag on the back of the front passenger seat with a velcro cord holder. I put the holder around the metal head rest post and attach the grocery bag.

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Even though I try to use my own shopping bags when I shop, I still wind up with a lot of plastic bags. I recycle them periodically with the various stores, but I also use them myself. I line trash cans with them and use them for storage and organization of suitably sized items.

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We, as a whole, use way too much plastic. Its life span is hundred of years if put in landfills. So I have tried to find ways of reusing, recycling and looking at it in a different way.

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Save those tiny plastic grocery bags that are too small to use for anything else. I keep my other plastic bags to use for trash containers. You can use the really little bags to pick up doggie messes in the park when walking your dog and no waste bags are available.

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Plastic Grocery Bag Flowers Scrunch plastic grocery bags length-wise and tie off in 4 or 5 places. Cut the top of the bag, then cut just below each place that the bag was tied off. Add a pipe-cleaner or stick "stem" and secure with florist tape. Add pom-pom center. Swish flower petals lightly into tacky glue and then dip into glitter.

Place in glass jar, an old vase that has been donated, or inexpensive vases from the dollar store. Add greens if you have them.

Plastic Grocery Bag Flowers

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    When I buy fruit or veggies at the store, I put them in those plastic produce bags provided by the stores. At home, I take the produce out of the bags, putting it into a fruit bowl or a paper bag in the refrigerator. Then I turn the plastic bags inside out and use them for breading my chicken, fish, etc.

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    I recycle my grocery plastic bags, by filling them up with trash as they hang by the sink. When full, I close them and put them in my trash can. That way I recycle two ways. After I take out the trash from kitchen to the trash can I get to reuse my trash bag if it's still in immaculate condition.

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    My dad's new wife just showed me how to re-use plastic grocery store bags. She folds them into four length wise then cuts the bottom off. Working your way up, you cut about one inch strips until you get to the handles.

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    I keep a laundry basket in the back of my car. I put my newspaper and plastic bags in the laundry basket. Once a week, I stop at a local resale shop that is run by a charity. They need the paper to wrap glass items and the bags for customer's items.

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    Use your plastic shopping bags for packing in shipping packages. It is light weight and free. Also it is a good cushion.

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    This short video teaches you how to make a creative dog leash out of old plastic grocery bags.

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    Don't we love to re-use those plastic bags from the grocery store? I store things in them, and a lot of women cut them into strips and crochet them. Those strips are called "plarn."

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    You can use a Food Saver Vacuum sealer or Seal A Meal, I think you can even use the small one that is battery operated for resealing chip bags.

    Shopping Bag Into Planting Bags

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    A friend of mine was moving large speakers from CO to CA on a bus. We packed them in boxes and used wadded up plastic grocery bags instead of newspaper or peanuts.

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    I save all my plastic bags to reuse, even the small bags that come from stores (meat, greeting cards, etc. are often put into small bags before being placed in the grocery bag).

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    Instead of using plastic wrap, that sometimes fails to stick properly, use plastic bags for some leftovers.

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    Another use for plastic bags is to drape them over a bucket or other container and then use as a toilet! I understand that in Africa, they call these "flying toilets." It would be great for camping or to use in an emergency situation.

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    Sometimes, I forget to grab my "green" shopping bags before heading into the grocery store. I re-use the plastic bags by wrapping my produce in them. I have found that my lettuce, grapes, cabbage, peppers, carrots stay fresher much longer.

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    This may sound a little "unprofessional" to some, but in my business I mostly use used plastic bags for my customers. I simply ask "Would you like a recycled, used plastic bag?" and so far EVERY customer I've asked has said with enthusiasm "Why YES, I would LOVE a recycled bag!"

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    I normally use cloth bags for groceries, but occasionally forget to put them back in the car, so I have a few plastic bags in the house. I picked up a footstool with a vinyl top and wooden legs at a yard sale for $1.00.

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    The most effective was to reuse plastic grocery bags that I do is make them into plarn, then into useful items like cell holders, lunch bags, purses, even a bingo bag for my one co-worker!

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    When my wife and I had our first baby, we put a Diaper Genie on on baby shower want list. And we GOT it, but we found out with our second and third child that those bags from the grocery store did just as well.

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    Better Living Green Living ReusingFebruary 14, 2012
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