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40 Weird And Wonderful Ways To Recycle And Reuse Plastic Bags

Feb 13, 2021

Image:  Plastic shopping bag -
In recent years, we’ve been made aware of how bad plastic bags can be for our planet’s environment according to Most of them wind up in landfills, where they can take hundreds of years to break down. Too many also enter our oceans, where they pose a danger to marine life. To help alleviate this problem, here are 40 inventive hacks to put your old bags to good use.
40. Homemade crinkle toy
What better way to repurpose your unwanted bags than by turning them into a toy any baby would surely love? Simply stuff the unwanted plastic into a cute fabric design of your choice and sew it safely and securely within. The material will make an unmistakable crinkle noise, to stimulate your little one’s senses.
39. Gift bows
A lovingly made bow can provide the perfect finishing touch to any gift. However, a lot of store-bought decorations are made from single-use plastic that ends up in the trash soon after a present has been unwrapped. To avoid unnecessary waste, repurpose a plastic bag into an adornment by securing several strips of plastic in the middle and fluffing into shape.
38. Halloween decorations
Instead of buying new decorations each Halloween, why not repurpose some plastic bags into ghoulish designs? Ghosts are particularly easy to make but are no less effective. Simply stuff an inflated balloon within a white bag to form a head and decorate with a spooky face. When you’re done, secure your spook outside your door to frighten the trick-or-treaters.
37. Protect car mirrors from ice
Scraping ice off your car mirrors on a freezing winter morning is far from fun. However, you can prevent them from frosting up altogether by placing plastic bags on them overnight when temperatures are due to plummet. Just remember to remove them in the morning so that you can use your mirrors safely.
36. Clever coin purse
Even small plastic bags – such as chip packets – can be repurposed into something more useful, as this DIY coin purse hack proves. Simply take the said bag and cut it into two equal rectangles. Sew three sides of the shapes together, attaching a zip to the remaining opening. You will be left with the perfect little bag in which to store any small items.
35. Makeshift shoehorn
You may think that the flimsiness of a plastic bag would render it useless as a shoehorn, but this is not the case. Placing a bag in the bottom of your pesky shoes will help your foot slide in much more easily. Once your soles are secured, simply pull the plastic out and place it to one side for next time.
34. Cover paint trays
Cleaning up paint trays after every use can be quite the hassle. But you can save yourself some time and effort just by placing a plastic bag over the receptacle before using it as normal. When you’ve finished, simply dispose of the dirty bag to leave a completely clean tray with no washing required.
33. Applying furniture polish
Polishing wooden furniture can often be a messy and tricky job, but a plastic bag can help the task along. Simply place one over your hand to apply the polish. Not only will the plastic help to spread the agent more easily, but it will also keep your fingers clean, ensuring tidying up afterwards isn’t a chore.
32. Pom-Pom decoration
Making your own decorations can be a fun and inspiring way to transform your home or event. And plastic pom-poms are an easy way to enhance any space with relatively little effort. Simply cut your bag into a continuous plastic strip and fashion it into shape the same way you would with regular yarns.
31. Easily move plants
Keeping plants happy on the move can be a tricky task. However, a plastic bag might help in the process. Wrap one around the roots as you transport your greenery. And in order to keep the plants extra safe, add some soil and water to the bags to prevent wilting. As a happy bonus, the plastic will also stop dirt from getting everywhere.
30. Seal a leaking bottle
Leaking bottles or sippy cups can be the bane of a parent’s life. But this is where plastic bags can come in handy. Placing one around the seam of the receptacle and tightening the lid over it helps to create a seal that will save you from unwanted liquid messes, at least of the drinks kind.
29. Make a bed mat
With a little bit of crochet know-how, it’s relatively easy to transform a heap of unwanted plastic bags into a pretty awesome bed mat. Even better, the pad will be waterproof, meaning it’s suitable for outside use. Consequently, it will make a great addition to your garden furniture or any camping trip.
28. Makeshift backpack
Why simply carry a plastic bag by the handles when you can turn it into a makeshift backpack? Just place your arms through the loops and place the main body of the sack on your back. The weight of the contents should then be dispersed between your shoulders, making heavier items easier to bear.
27. Plug gaps around the house
Gaps around pipes and air conditioner units can let in pesky drafts. However, plastic bags can be used to easily plug household cracks and holes. This will keep the wind at bay and provide some protection from water. Nevertheless, the hack will only work for a limited time, and the bags are likely to need switching every so often.
26. Protect wiper blades
If your windshield wipers become frozen over winter they can stop working. But the easiest way of preventing this from happening is by wrapping them in plastic bags whenever temperatures are expected to plummet and the car isn’t in use. Just remember to take the bags off when you want to drive and you should be good to go.
25. Protect fruit on trees
When fruit is becoming ripe it is vulnerable to insects and critters. However, to prevent hungry mouths from claiming your cherished crops, simply cover the fruit with bags before they fall from the tree. Remember to check the sacks each day, as ripened produce can quickly go bad if left out.
24. Protect packages
Why waste money on expensive packing materials when plastic bags work just as well? Simply stuff envelopes, parcels and boxes with them in order to protect items during shipment. The good thing is that you can use as many or as few as you need while giving single-use bags another useful lease of life.
23. Separate wet clothes
Remember to pack a few plastic bags in your gym bag or suitcase when you travel. They can be used to separate wet or sweaty clothing and swimwear from the rest of your luggage, preventing everything from becoming damp and smelly. Simply place offending items in a bag and tie securely, then you’re good to go.
22. Keep your knees clean
This gardening hack will save your trousers no matter how long you spend working on all fours. Just tie plastic bags around the knees to keep them clean and dry. The covers won’t provide much cushioning for your joints, but it should make weeding cleaner for your clothes, even if it will do little to make it a more comfortable experience.
21. Shoe covers
If you have fresh kicks that you want to keep clean, or carpets at home that you’d like to protect, plastic bags double as the perfect shoe covers. Just place them over your feet and secure them at the ankles. You can keep some by the door in case of an emergency, or carry some while you’re out and about to ensure your shoes always look their best.
20. Pack up toiletries
Toiletries are unfortunately prone to leaking when you’re traveling. But in order to save the rest of your luggage from sticky substances, simply place all of your lotions and potions into a plastic bag and secure it. If they do spill, the mess will be contained within the sack, keeping your clothes nice and clean.
19. Make little storage pots
It’s easy to transform unwanted plastic bags into cute, colorful storage containers. Simply cut into strips before ironing onto a strip of cardboard that is wrapped around a paper cup. The plastic will melt together to form the shape of a pot, which can be used to store pens or other small items.
18. Cover surfaces
One of the easiest ways to put plastic bags to good use is by using them to protect surfaces around the home. Cut them up and tape them to counters and tabletops before engaging in messy tasks like crafts or cooking. When you’re done, simply remove the bags and dispose of them, or wipe down with a damp cloth so you can use them again.
17. Upcycled jump rope
Keep kids occupied by encouraging them to make their own upcycled jump rope using nothing but plastic bags. Simply tie strips of plastic end-to-end until you reach your desired length. Repeat the process a few times, then braid all the strands together to create a thicker, stronger rope.
16. Make a kite
Kites provide fun for all the family, and they’re even better when they keep plastic out of landfills. Make yours by forming a cross with two straws and tacking that to your chosen bag. After that, fold in each corner to create the traditional kite shape, add a string and fly to your heart’s content.
15. Gift wrap
Rather than splashing out on new wrapping paper, save your prettiest plastic bags for the task. Patterned or frosted varieties make lovely-looking gifts that anyone would surely be happy to receive. Furthermore, you can even decorate the packaging further with embellishments, ribbons or stamps.
14. Protect valuables
When moving or storing delicate items such as precious heirlooms or glass figurines, try wrapping them in plastic bags. The material should provide adequate cushioning to protect goods against knocks, especially if you’re piling them on top of one another. Just make sure you use enough bags to provide a buffer.
13. Make a waterproof pillow
Believe it or not, plastic bags make surprisingly comfortable pillow stuffing. Simply fill a case with as many scrunched up bags as will fit and see for yourself. What’s more, paired with the right kind of fabric, you can make a completely waterproof cushion, which would make the perfect garden accessory.
12. Roll out dough
Rolling out dough can be a messy process. That’s because it often sticks to your countertop and becomes a pain to remove. To stop this from happening, line your worktop with a plastic bag or two. When you’re finished, you can just dispose of the bags – or use them to store your freshly prepared dough.
11. Make a pet bed
Plastic bags make the perfect pet bed filling because, not only are they surprisingly comfortable, but they’re also easy to wash. Unlike regular stuffing, they can be wiped or hosed down in order to keep them clean. Furthermore, they won’t absorb pet odors, helping to keep your home smelling fresh.
10. Seal paint cans
Once you’ve popped the lid on a paint can, it can be hard to shut it properly again. But if the tin isn’t airtight its contents can spoil or dry out. To prevent this from happening, put a plastic bag over the open can before pounding the lid into place. This will seal the container and keep your emulsion longer.
9. Line freezer shelves
Keeping fridge or freezer shelves clean can be a pain. So to save you from the arduous task simply cover them in plastic bags. When they become dirty, just remove them and wipe clean or discard. You can do this as regularly as needed, swapping bags for new as and when they’re required.
8. Keep your entrance clean
Given all the comings and goings that take place in an entrance hall, it can be difficult to keep on top of any mess. But keeping some plastic bags near the door can make life a little bit easier. That way, they’re close at hand ready for dirty shoes or soaking umbrellas as soon as someone steps into the house, therefore minimizing any mess.
7. Help shoes and purses keep their shape
When unused shoes and purses are left lying around they can easily lose their shape. So to help to keep them looking their best, stuff them with plastic bags before storing them away to help them hold their form. Just remember to remove the filler when you come to use your boots or bags, otherwise, you won’t be able to fit anything into them.
6. Line litter trays
As any cat owner will know, cleaning up a kitty’s litter box can be far from pleasant. However, instead of scooping out the contents and risking making a mess, use a plastic liner. You can buy specialist ones at the pet store, but unused bags work just as well. And the best part is that you probably already have some of them lying around.
5. DIY photography reflector
Any photographer will tell you that when it comes to capturing that perfect shot, the right lighting is vital. But to create the perfect conditions, there’s no need to splash the cash on a fancy reflector. Instead, use a white plastic bag filled with air to easily boost brightness and lift shadows at a fraction of the cost.
4. Toy parachutes
What better way to inject a little bit of adventure into playtime than with the addition of a parachute for your toys? To make your own, simply cut a circle from the material, attach some strings and let gravity work its magic. Hopefully, your action figures should fall softly to the ground in true paratrooper fashion.
3. Make a basket
It’s easy to craft plastic bags into something much more practical and pretty – such as one of these baskets, for instance. They’re made by braiding strips of plastic together until you have one long yarn. You can then twist this into shape, first forming a base and then working upwards to make the sides, adding stitches as you go to hold its form.
2. Bag dispenser
If you have trouble storing all your plastic bags, consider making one of these dispensers. To do so, prepare the bags by folding them in half lengthways before laying them in a line with the handles overlapping the bottom of the bag before. Starting from the front, tightly roll the sacks together, and place them in a suitable container to dispense.
1. Protect plants and flowers from frost
To save your flowers and plants over winter, place a plastic bag over pots to prevent your greenery from freezing. Just place them over the containers before temperatures drop to act as a little blanket. However, it’s best to place a layer of cloth between the bag and your plant, as plastic could damage it.

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