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Uses for Plastic Grocery Bags

Category Reusing
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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By 17 found this helpful
March 15, 2012

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!

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  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.
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  4. 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.
  5. 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!
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  7. 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.
  8. Use them to wash dishes. Again, tie at the wrist or higher.
  9. 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!
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
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  14. 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.
  15. Use to store paint rollers. Store clean rollers to keep them pliable and soft.
  16. 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.

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By FranFran from Zebulon, Georgia

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By 7 found this helpful
July 2, 2010

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 cara from Kent OH

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By 7 found this helpful
May 19, 2009

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. We simply insert the plastic grocery bag in. Once the trash is full, we just remove the bags to the large garbage can outside the house.

This way you empty the trash more frequent, keep the house more sanitary and odorless. For the last twenty years, we have never bought the commercial garbage bags. Of course you can also find other uses for the bags.

By pengteo from Seattle, WA

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By 18 found this helpful
November 16, 2009

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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By 5 found this helpful
August 20, 2009

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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June 23, 2008

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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By 5 found this helpful
November 3, 2011

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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By 6 found this helpful
March 17, 2010

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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By 5 found this helpful
March 21, 2011

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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By 5 found this helpful
August 6, 2010

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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By 4 found this helpful
August 7, 2011

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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By 6 found this helpful
July 3, 2012

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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By 5 found this helpful
June 5, 2009

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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January 3, 2017

I have two carry cases for my new camera. As I use only one, I decided to pack the other, away. I didn't want it to become flattened or misshapen in storage, so I stuffed it. I found those ubiquitous grocery bags to be the ideal stuffing.

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August 11, 2011

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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August 8, 2008

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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March 20, 2012

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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By 2 found this helpful
March 5, 2013

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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By 2 found this helpful
August 27, 2008

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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By 2 found this helpful
June 11, 2008

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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By 4 found this helpful
September 15, 2014

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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March 12, 2010

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

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May 28, 20091 found this helpful

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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February 24, 2012

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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By 1 found this helpful
January 27, 2014

Take the excess clean, whole grocery bags to your local food pantry or farmstand. Please do not take ones that are wet, smelly, or dirty.

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By 2 found this helpful
August 17, 2015

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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February 7, 2013

My husband and I like to walk for exercise and we like to bring water or iced tea with us.

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June 26, 20170 found this helpful

If you need a shower cap and don't have one handy, a plastic shopping bag can be used as a substitute. This is a guide about how to use a plastic bag for a shower cap.

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February 1, 20170 found this helpful

Recycle plastic bags to keep your socks and feet dry when out in the rain and snow. This is a guide about keeping your feet dry with plastic bags.

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January 18, 20170 found this helpful

This is a guide about craft use for grocery bags. Plastic grocery bags can be kept out of the landfills by recycling them into knit, crochet, woven, and other craft projects.

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January 5, 20170 found this helpful

This is a guide about turn shopping bags into planting bags. Another useful way to recycle and reuse those plastic grocery bags is by making seedling starter pots.

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January 5, 20170 found this helpful

This is a guide about making plastic grocery bag flowers. Recycle your plastic grocery bags into a pretty faux floral arrangement.

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January 5, 20170 found this helpful

This is a guide about making a plastic grocery bag crochet hat. Recycled plastic grocery bags can be cut into lengths and used to make crochet and knit hats.

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By 0 found this helpful
February 4, 2016

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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June 11, 20130 found this helpful

This is a guide about making crafts with plarn. Plarn is yarn made from cut up plastic grocery bags. It has many craft uses, as it can be substituted for acrylic and other yarns in some projects.

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By 0 found this helpful
December 28, 2009

Never buy another kitchen trash bag! Mount a small metal frame to the inside of the door directly below the sink and hang plastic grocery bags from it. It's a great way to reuse all those store bags and easy to get at. I replace my bags every 2 days or so.

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September 11, 20060 found this helpful

There are lots of sticky, nasty things in our kitchens that we have to pick/clean up. When this happens, put your hand into a plastic grocery bag to pick up whatever it is and then just invert the bag and throw the sticky item away.

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Videos

By 5 found this helpful
September 24, 2013

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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February 9, 20123 found this helpful

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

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
October 10, 2014

I would like to know how to make a bag or hat out of bread bags.

By Kerena

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Archives

ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

May 19, 20090 found this helpful

Ideas for reusing plastic grocery bags.

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