Uses for Plastic Grocery Bags

March 15, 2012

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.
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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.


By FranFran from Zebulon, Georgia

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July 2, 2010

Uses for plastic grocery bags (the one time use/disposable): To carry groceries home: Most can be used more than once to get groceries home

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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.

Comment Was this helpful? 5

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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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.

Comment Was this helpful? 6

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.

Comment Was this helpful? 5

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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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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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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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.

A camera case stuffed with grocery bags to retain it's shape while stored.

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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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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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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 213 Posts
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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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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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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