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50 Ways to Reuse Plastic Bags

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I own several reusable shopping bags and yet, because I often forget to bring them with me or I fail to bring enough into the store, I constantly find myself with a large collection of plastic bags. In my new effort to cut costs wherever I can, I realized these free supplies I can get every time I buy essentials (and forget to bring my eco-friendly reusable bags) can help me save money and trouble all over the place!

Here is an extensive list of ways you can reuse plastic bags  so that you don’t have to feel guilty when the person in front of you looks at you with disdain as she hands the cashier her reusable bag that SHE remembered to bring with her.


four blue plastic bags next to a green bag with text on it reading This Reusable Bag Means I Am Morally Superior To You


50 Uses For Plastic Grocery Bags

  1. Save them to give to customers at your next yard sale when they make purchases.
  2. Use as trash can liners in small wastebaskets.
  3. Use them to collect trash in your vehicle.
  4. Keep an extra one in the car as a barf bag.
  5. Use one as an emergency rain bonnet if the weather turns rainy unexpectedly.
  6. Cover your vehicle’s side mirrors and wiper blades to prevent ice from accumulating on them.
  7. Use them to line the cat’s litter box.
  8. Use them to pick up your dog’s waste during walks.
  9. Use them for soiled diapers.
  10. Use them to hold wet items (e.g. after a trip to the pool or beach).
  11. Use them to separate dirty from clean items in your luggage.
  12. Keep your shoes in them in your suitcase to prevent scuffs or to contain odors.
  13. Store liquid hygiene items in them to contain spills when traveling.
  14. Cut a slit in the bottom and slide them on a hangar over your clothes to keep the shoulders from getting dusty.
  15. Keep them in the car and near the front door to contain muddy shoes.
  16. Use them as stuffing instead of batting.
  17. Use them as packing material when shipping fragile items.
  18. Cover your cast with a plastic bag to keep it dry in the shower.
  19. Use it as a disposable shower cap when you dye your hair.
  20. Wear them over your socks and under your boots to keep your feet dry in snow or rain.
  21. Worn over socks, they make it much easier to put on boots, skates, or other difficult to put on footwear.
  22. Place a wet umbrella in it before putting it in your purse or setting somewhere you’d rather keep dry.
  23. Use them to keep paint rollers or brushes from drying quickly if you want to take a break from painting. If you wrap the bag tightly over the roller or brush and rubber band it on to seal it, you can wait as long as a full day.
  24. Use them as paint applicators instead of a sponge.
  25. Use them to apply wax or polish to items.
  26. Tie them around your knees to keep them dry while kneeling in the soil to weed or garden.
  27. Bring them with you when you go to buy new plants to cover the bottom of the containers and prevent dirt from falling out onto your car’s floor or trunk.
  28. Cover fragile outdoor plants with a plastic bag to protect it from an early or unseasonable frost.
  29. Keep your plants alive while you’re on vacation by creating a mini greenhouse with a plastic bag.
  30. Peel vegetables onto a plastic bag and then just pick up the bag and toss all the peelings easily.
  31. Use instead of plastic wrap to cover a bowl of rising dough.
  32. Put frozen meat in a plastic bag with a paper towel to defrost without a mess.
  33. Wrap your cold water bottles in a plastic bag before throwing it in your bag to prevent condensation from getting everything else in the bag wet.
  34. Fill the bottom of a large basket, bowl or flower pot with plastic bags so the featured items can be displayed more prominently.
  35. Make a toy parachute.
  36. Make a baby crinkle toy.
  37. Make a kite.
  38. Make a rope.
  39. Make a rug.
  40. Make a purse.
  41. Make a wreath.
  42. Make coasters.
  43. Make a fused plastic placemat.
  44. Make a crocheted placemat.
  45. Make gift bows.
  46. Make plastic flowers.
  47. Use it to stuff a DIY pet bed.
  48. Donate them to thrift shops for their customers.
  49. Donate them to food banks.
  50. Donate them to the library for patrons or for use during their book sales.


Finally, I’m not sure I could recreate these, but I admire these beautiful pieces of art produced by Virginia Fleck entirely from plastic bags!

Artwork Virginia Fleck

22 thoughts on “50 Ways to Reuse Plastic Bags”

  1. The great thing about this list of ways to re-use those plastic grocery bags is that you don’t have to be even a bit crafty to do these things. I’m on board- reuse!!

    • That’s one of my favorite things about re-using the bags too, because I’m not very crafty.

  2. Pingback: Creative Uses For Toilet Paper Rolls
  3. For minor paint jobs that require a roller, place the tray inside a bag and pour the paint onto the bag.
    When you’re done just turn the bag inside out and bin. No tray cleanup needed.
    And if you’re using a water based paint for larger jobs, bag your roller and place in the freezer overnight, or longer.

  4. We should be covered for a while. We have plastic bags coming from everywhere.

  5. Wow, what a fantastic list! I was happy that I do a lot of these already but will really have to check out that toy parachute. My kiddo would love it!

  6. I have so many plastic bags — some from my husband, but for me because i go to the store with one bag and then need 3. eek!

    • I do the same thing at the grocery store. Either that or I bring way too many reusable bags. It’s like Tupperware, I never seem to size things up right!

  7. So many uses for plastic bags.. I always tend to have a ton hanging around the house. We use the when we clean up the doggy mess from the back yard or garbage bags for smaller bathroom trash cans

  8. WOW!! I love this list, I would have never thought of half of these, especially the kid crafty ones. I use most of mine for cat liter but going to try a craft or two with them.

  9. we donate ours to the humane society they make great pooper scoopers when walking the dogs

  10. Great tips! We use ours to scoop out the cat’s litter box 🙂

  11. This is a great idea for rounding up those pesky plastic bags. I always round up my extra plastic bags and take them to my son’s old daycare. They always need plastic bags for soiled clothes or for bagging a horrible diaper.

    Don’t have a changing pad while out in public, you can use a plastic bag to lay your child on.

  12. We do lots of these things in our household. I hate seeing people just throw them away! I also think it’s important to note that most grocery stores also have recycling centers where you can recycle bags, too; sometimes we get so many that we just can’t seem to use them all, so when that happens, I make sure to recycle them. Thanks for this great post; I hope people will start being more green about their plastic bag use after reading it. 🙂

    • You’re right. A LOT of stores have recycling receptacles for plastic bags. I do hope more people are inspired to make the small effort to be green.

  13. awesome list! I keep plastic bags in my car for emergency purposes already, I need to be more DIY creative with them, so that I can put them to good use! Great info here! Thank you 🙂

  14. Hi Corinne – We keep a bucket under the sink to reuse plastic grocery bags for whatever. I think I can count maybe 2-3 ways we reuse, so these 50 ideas are great! Hugs, Holly

  15. This is such a great list! I learned so much. We use them for trash bags and to put shoes in when we are packing for a trip. I made an outdoor rug one with trash bags! It really helped get the dirt off our shoes before coming in the house!

  16. I posted about it on one of my blogs as well a while ago. It’s amazing how many ways we can reuse plastic bag, I’m doing it all the time.

  17. I use them all the time for garbage bags in the house and car! And I use them if I want to bring something to someones house–there are some other ideas I will probably incorporate–thank you!

  18. I laughed out loud at the barf bag one. It’s an awesome idea and I have no clue why I never thought of that before 🙂

    • Hopefully it’s because you’ve never had the need for one before. Unfortunately, we have (once for the dog!).


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