Saturday, March 28, 2009

Creative reuses for plastic bags

With all my talk about reducing my use of plastic bags, how do I cope with all of life's messes without a fresh influx of plastic bags? I have found creative ways to reuse plastic bags that are not provided by the grocery store. This may mean more creative thinking later as I try to reduce the total amount of plastic in my life, but for now, these strategies work for me.

I have not purchased plastic bags for my bathroom garbage can for years but still have some garbage liners from that final purchase. To conserve what I have, like most people, I take the plastic bag from my pharmacy and line the rubbish bin with it. With a scarce supply of both plastic and garbage bags, I have found alternatives. The plastic wrapper around my toilet paper now graces the inside of my bathroom garage can. In the basement, I use the plastic bag my softener salt comes in as the liner for that trash can.

The bags that my kitty litter and cocoa bean mulch come in are a nice thick plastic that I reuse to shovel free composted horse manure or free bark mulch into to bring home. The plastic bags that contain potato chips, line cereal boxes or hold bread products end up in the basement for one more use: ferrying cat poop from the basement to the toilet on the main floor. I reuse bags for hot dog and hamburger buns to hold my one pound loaves of homemade bread. Plastic liners from cracker boxes are used to crush crackers. The plastic bags my egg noodles come in are reused for weighing pasta or other items on my food scale. For unmentionable or stinky messes, any of these plastic bags would work well.

All of these items are plastic bags that most people would discard, but I try to get at least one more use out of them before sending them to the landfill. Do you have any creative uses?


  1. Those are really good suggestions! I especially like that toilet paper plastic bag idea for the trash can. I buy paper towels and kleenex in bulk too, so those would make good trash liners as well. I cook the dogs' food, so I portion out their cooked meat in little freezer baggies (space constraints, otherwise I use tupperware for freezing). I wash and dry those baggies and re-use them. I've even slapped some duct tape on them when they're torn, and I haven't had to buy anymore so far since last summer. Our dollar store now carries biodegradeable kitchen garbage bags and poop n scoop bags, so I buy those now too.

  2. @Rain,

    I like the use of duct tape! Saving plastic bags is prudent and led me to not buying new bags for nearly a year (and I still have plenty). Sometimes I don't wash them if I reuse for the same item (e.g., onion half or cheese).

  3. If you seem to collect too many grocery bags, you can cut them into loops, string them together and crochet a rug out of them. It's the perfect weatherproof doormat that's great for wiping the mud from your shoes & boots before entering the house.

  4. @App,

    That is quite the creative use of plastic bags. I like it a lot. If only I could crochet...

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