20 Alternative Uses For Plastic Grocery Bags

upcycle plastic grocery bags

By Lizzie Bennett

Everywhere you look there are plastic carrier bags. They lurk up corners, under hedges, stuck in trees and in my case in a bag up a corner in the garage.

Since the UK introduced a 5p charge for plastic carrier bags there are nowhere near as many around as there used to be…unless like me you leave the reusable bags in the boot of the car and have to bite the bullet and buy one! Having said that sorting out the garage resulted in finding a huge black rubbish bag full if the things and I couldn’t think why I had so many then I remembered…I was going to crochet them.

Yes, that’s right, cut into strips, tied together and crocheted with a very large hook they make great ‘get the mud of your boots’ disposable door mats – really they do, I just never got around to doing it. Look at this if you don’t believe me. You really can make all kinds of things with plastic carrier bags.

There are plenty of craft projects on line that you can turn holed bags, or unhealed bags if you have them into a wide range of items and that got me thinking, what else would they be useful for?

Well they’re plastic so I think it would be cheating to just produce a whole list of things you can cover/protect with them so I’ll make that number one and you can ditto it for any item you like.

  1. Protect ‘stuff’ from the elements.
  2. Cut into strips and tied to canes they are good at scaring off birds on the veggie patch.
  3. Crochet loads of stuff from reusable shopping bags – that’s kind of funny, disposable bags to re-useable bags, doormats, water permeable outdoor plant pots…all sorts of things that when they start showing wear you throw them away.
  4. Keep your outdoor bin clean by putting carriers inside your indoor bin, also good for small bathroom bins.
  5. Put over a kneeling cushion to keep it clean when weeding.
  6. Making sure there are no holes first…keep in the car for travel sick passengers.
  7. Struggling to get your wet suit on? A bag on each foot makes your feet slide in effortlessly. Once you have your feet in remove and use on your hands…so much easier than fighting neoprene.
  8. Seal paintbrushes in them if you will be continuing the job later or the following morning. Ditto varnish covered brushes.
  9. You can also protect the floor from paint can drips with them.
  10. Line a cat litter tray.
  11. They are handy for wrapping delicate crockery before storage if you layer them on.
  12. Going hiking? Thin strips make good trail markers – please collect them on the way back though, no point littering if it can be avoided.
  13. They actually make a very useful sling. Rip or better still cut down one side and stretch both handles gently before snipping one of the handles. Put the uncut handle over the patients head and slide the bag under their damaged arm. Their elbow will sit in the corner of the bag. Tie both parts of the cut handle to the base of the handle around their neck to immobilize the limb.
  14. Put a bag over the top of a can of paint before replacing the lid. It stops the dried paint on the lid dropping into the liquid paint. Trim off excess bag so it doesn’t get caught up and upend your can.
  15. Rubber boots can be hard for little kids to get on with socks. Cut the bottom off a bag and loosely wrap around the child’s foot, slip on the boot and using the handles pull the bag out – voila!
  16. With the handle cut off and both sides slit they are great for providing shading for greenhouses (light coloured ones only)
  17. Tied to the end of tree branches and left overnight will get you a small drink of water in the morning.
  18. They are great for stuffing holes around pipes and vents as a temporary fix. I’ve been told you can lag pipes with strips of them but I’m not sure they would insulate well enough so I won’t recommend that.
  19. Ice packs: Put two bags one inside the other, fill with smallish ice cubes and tie up. Cut off excess bag and store in the freezer. Saves your peas defrosting in a crisis.
  20. Use as grow bags: Put two bags together and fill with soil/compost. Stab a garden cane through the bottom for drainage and cut off the handles. Plant. Ideal for corners at the bottom of the garden that you want to utilise with little expense. These work well for kids to start their growing experience with quick crops such as radishes.
  21. For many more artistic ideas have a look here.

Anybody got any more ideas? Feel free to leave a comment.

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Photo credits: shlomp-a-plompa and bobsfever via Visualhunt.com /NB/ CC BY-ND

This article (20 Alternative Uses For Plastic Grocery/Carrier Bags) appears on Natural Blaze courtesy of the author.

You can read more from Lizzie Bennett at her site Underground Medic, where this article first appeared. Like on Facebook and follow on Twitter

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