Bag Holder for Picking Up Litter

There is a great need for volunteers to help clean up our roads these days. I have found that the winter months are the best time for me as the grass is short and the litter is so accessible and there are no biting insects to bother me.


To pick up litter, you only need something to put it in; however it helps to have a reach extender, gloves, and a bag on a bag holder. Reach extenders are easy to find in local stores, but bag holders are not as available. I have seen a few on line and they are expensive.

We made our own bag holders and use them for our Adopt-A-Highway team members to use. It weighs only 4 1/2 ounces. You can make one too by following these simple step-by-step instructions. You can find these supplies at Home Depot or Lowes. The cost is approximately $5.00-$7.00, depending on the cost of the aluminum rod. These bag holders are durable and will last for a long time. We have been using ours since 2004 and they are still good as new. The spring clamps are cheap and can be replaced if one is lost.

Also included are instructions on how to put the bag on the bag holder.



  1. Find the center of the rod and make a mark. On each side, place a mark three inches from the center point on each side. Then make a mark seven inches from the tips of each end. These marks will be bending points. All bends are 90 degrees.
  2. Place the rod in the vice using the middle mark for a guide. The mark needs to be outside of the vice a little so when you bend the rod, the mark will be at the top of the bend. If the mark is not at the center of the bend, the holder will not be symmetrical, which is OK. It will work just as well. It does not have to be perfect. After bending, remove it from the vice.
  3. At this point, use both hands to bend the rod together. This makes the handle of the holder. Once the holder is completely bent, you can refine any of the bends by hand.
  4. Place the handle snug in the vice with the three inch marks lined up to the vice's edge. Don't try bending the handle together any more with the vice as it may break. The loop in the handle's end is also good for hanging the holders on a nail for storage.
  5. Next bend both sides of the rod at the 3 inch mark. Remove from the vice.
  6. Place the rod back in the vice and bend forward (away from the handle) at the 7 inch marks. Repeat for the opposite side.
  7. Cover the sharp tips with duck tape or dip them in Plasti Dip.

  8. To place a bag on the holder, start on the inside of the holder. Place the middle of the back of the bag at the handle.
  9. Fold the bag over the rod.
  10. Place a clamp at the top on each end and at the tips on each end.
  11. You can have the full opening of the bag.
  12. You can adjust the size of the opening by gathering the bag on the holder or just taking a tuck on the side. The tuck is convenient for picking up litter on a windy day when you will need a small opening. If you need the full opening of the bag to put a large item into the bag, remove the clamp that holds the tuck and you have the full opening. When done, just clip it back in place.
  13. You can hang a bag on the back of the holder. This is great for keeping the recycling separated from the trash.
  14. Hold the bag on the holder in your hand like a bucket handle. This allows you to lower the bag to the ground and pitch the trash into the bag. If it's a very windy day, just a twist of your wrist will turn the bag around so the opening is not facing the wind while you are walking. With the use of your thumb and a twist of the wrist, you can control the opening and closing of the bag opening. This lightweight device is strong, but you will find that most of the weight of the litter is in your hand not on the bag holder.

  15. A dog food bag or woven seed bag can be put on the holder for picking up pinecones. I find a lot of these on the roadside. Just place the holder inside the bag and clamp the bag to it.
  16. These bag holders would make great Christmas gifts for all your friends that pick up litter. If you like making crafts to sell, this will make a good one and you can help clean up our world while making some bucks. It does not look impressive though so you will have to demonstrate it and show what it can do.

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December 2, 20201 found this helpful

Wow. What a great idea.

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December 7, 20201 found this helpful

I use Dollar Tree hula hoops in a similar way. I use the little jewels for a lot of things that hang. Depending on how they are used they can last for years.

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January 26, 20210 found this helpful

Just use a wire hanger. Pull bottom out to form a basket shape and clamp bag onto edges

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