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10 Ways to Reuse Plastic Grocery Bags

If you’re like me, you can collect a plethora of plastic grocery bags without even trying. Even if you remember to use your reusable bags at the store, they’re never quite big enough to hold everything. For the thrifty environmentalist, you need some ways to put those bags to use. Here are some ideas.

Trashcan liners

Instead of buying trashcan liners for your office, bedroom or bathroom trashcans, use a grocery bag. It keeps you can clean, makes a second use of the bag and keeps you from having to purchase another item.

Pet waste 

In similar fashion, use the grocery bags as substitutes for other bags you use. When you take your dog out on a walk, carry a grocery bag to use to clean up any pet waste and drop it in a trashcan. This keeps the public space free of “land mines” and, once again, keeps you from having to purchase the special puppy bags at the store.

Knitting yarn

For the DIY and craft-minded individual, the plastic bags can be a source of knitting or crocheting material. Tearing the bags into strips and using large needles gives you the opportunity to transform those bags into placemats, handbags, floor mats or baskets.

plastic bagsHalloween decorations

Create a creepy specter using old plastic bags bunched together and shredded in just the right way. For more about this art medium, click here.

Pack shoes

Do you travel a lot for work? Wrap your shoes in a plastic grocery bag before putting them in your suitcase to prevent getting the rest of your clothes dirty. Such packing also keeps your shoes from scuffing against other items in your bag.

Stuff patio pillows

Given the option of buying something new or using something you already have on hand, frugal folks choose the latter. Make or re-stuff pillows for your outdoor furniture by using a collection of plastic grocery bags. For the best results, use one plastic bag to hold all the stuffing and then cover that bag with the material for the pillow.

Make pom-poms

Cut the bags horizontally into strips so that you have a number of one inch loops of plastic the size of the circumference of the bag. Depending on how fluffy you want your pom-pom to be, collect a number of loops together, lay them flat on top of each other and tie them together in the center. Once they’re tied, cut the loop ends on both sides of the center and fluff. Rah rah rah!

Sack lunch

Taking your lunch to school or work can be a source of big savings in any budget. Instead of buying a lunch box or paper bags, use an old grocery bag to pack your lunch. Most break rooms have a refrigerator where you can store your lunch and keep it cool regardless of the container you use.

Food bank

Check with your local food bank to see if they could use the bags. Some food banks reuse the bags when they give away groceries to needy families.


Of course, you can always take the bags to a recycling location and let somebody else put them to good use.


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