Every time I need to use a plastic bag, I always go straight for the “storage” space underneath my sink. However, it’s become pretty obvious in my house that there are just too many of them, so I decided I wanted to do something productive (and fun!) with all these extra plastic bags.
Since there seems to be an unlimited number of plastic bags in the world, it’s a good idea to start reusing them as many times as we can before they potentially end up in a landfill. Plastic is one of the leading causes of pollution on our planet and can take up to 1000 years for it to biodegrade. When I learned that, I started focusing on making better uses out of my plastic bags, bottles, and any other plastic objects that could be reused.
So what are some ways to reuse plastic bags? Well, I decided to share a bunch of ways that you can use them in a productive and fun way in your everyday life. Enjoy!
1. Store meat and other food in the
Whether your storing meat, fish, or any other perishable, there’s a huge use-case for reusing your plastic bags when needing to store these items in your freezer. I often do this by cutting up whatever I’m storing into smaller pieces, placing them in individual plastic bags, and taking what I need when I need it.
2. Store vegetables and other loose items in the fridge
Another useful way to use your extra plastic bags is to use them for storing your vegetables and other loose items in your fridge. Whenever I go shopping for produce, I don’t always want to use the baggies they provide at the grocery store so that I can reuse what I already have when storing them in the crisper.
3. Pour used cooking oil (after it’s cooled down) before tossing it
As you know, it’s not a good idea to pour used cooking oil down the sink since it can easily clog up your drains and it’s not very eco-friendly. Instead, you can simply pour it in a plastic bag, wrap it up, and toss it into the garbage. I usually double up the plastic bags to make sure it doesn’t leak.
4. Use them as gloves when handling messy food
Some food is just messy! If I have extra plastic bags lying around (which seems like all the time!), I use them as gloves when handling messy food, like beef, poultry, fish, and generally sticky stuff. I don’t use them the entire time I’m cooking, but just temporary so I can avoid getting my hands all messy.
5. Packing lunches
I don’t always get around to packing lunches, but when I do and I have extra plastic bags I always use them as lunch bags. This is an excellent 2nd use purpose for clean plastic bags because they can easily contain food and any liquids that could leak as well.
6. Reuse them when grocery shopping
Where I live, it actually costs money (15 cents) to purchase plastic bags at the checkout counter at my local grocery store. Honestly, I’m not against this because I imagine it discourages the use of them and encourages paper bags. I personally like to reuse my clean plastic bags to help the environment and save a little change.
7. Wrap meat and other food that needs defrosting in the fridge
If I buy prepackaged meat from the deli and keep it frozen until I need it, I’ll always wrap it up in a plastic bag before placing it in the fridge to defrost. That way nothing will leak and I can easily grab it when I need it for cooking.
8. When prepping food for a meal
None of us want to keep going for the garbage under the sink or let the garbage sit out in the open smelling while we cook. It’s just annoying! Instead, wrap a plastic bag around one of your shelf handles and throw away your food prep scraps in it. That way you can simply toss that plastic bag out once you’re done!
9. Cover rising dough
If my family and I are making pizzas or prepping dough for some homemade bread, I used to let the dough rise in a bowl wrapped up in Siran wrap. Nowadays, I reuse the many plastic bags I have by wrapping up the bowl with it and stretching a rubber band around the bowl to keep it airtight.
10. Storage for other plastic bags
You know what’s good at storing plastic bags? I bigger plastic bag! I imagine most people have a number of plastic bags either under their kitchen sink or stuffed inside some drawer like me. It’s a simple suggestion, but it’s not a bad way to keep reusing your plastic bags.
11. Wrap around cold beverage bottles to catch condensation
If I’m working at my computer desk or filing some papers while sitting at the kitchen counter, I don’t want my cold water bottle or beverage to condensate all over the place. To avoid that, I simply wrap it up with a plastic bag and put a rubber band at the top to keep it attached.
12. Store non-seasonal clothes
We don’t always need every single item of clothing we own year-round, which is probably why most people choose to store their non-seasonal clothes for when they need them. If you want to reuse your plastic bags, try storing your non-seasonal clothes in them to keep them fresh for when they’re needed most.
13. Store instruction manuals
I don’t think anyone likes it when instruction manuals to electronics or other household items are misplaced. One way to reuse your plastic bags is to stuff those manuals into a bag, tie it off, and tape it either behind or beneath the item. That way you always know where to find the instructions.
14. Place wet umbrellas at the front door
At my house, we have a little bucket at the front door where we keep all of our umbrellas for when it’s raining out. I actually started putting a plastic bag inside the bucket so that it catches all the water from the umbrellas. This not only keeps the bucket clean but also makes it easy to remove the water.
15. Place wet and dirty shoes at the front door
There are days when it’s either raining or snowing non-stop and the mud that gets produced outside eventually finds its way inside. I started putting plastic bags at the front of the door so that when wet and dirty shoes come inside, they get placed in a plastic bag and put to the side. It works really well!
16. Put Legos inside for storage
I don’t know about you, but my family has so many Legos that it would take forever to count every last one of them. With all of those pieces, we decided to keep them stored inside some plastic bags so everything stays neat and manageable. Plus, there’s less chance of me stepping on them!
17. Wrap used paintbrushes
After cleaning paintbrushes, it’s easy to just put them aside and forget about them. But if they fall over or touch anything else, they could get dirty or get whatever they touch a little messy, so I started wrapping the heads of my paintbrush with plastic bags.
18. Tape to the wall when painting the inside of your home
We’ve had to paint the inside of our house a couple times and realized that there’s always need to isolate sections of the house with tape and plastic. This is a great use-case for plastic bags because you can use a lot of them and just toss them out when you’re done!
19. Layer between paint can and lid when storing
Whenever I close the lid of a paint can, it’s always the case that when I reopen it a bunch of dried paint will linger on the side of the lid and even have some dried pieces fall in. A good way to avoid this is by placing a plastic bag between the lid and the can when closing it.
20. Stuffing for your pillows, cushions, or pet beds
You know what it’s like when you have a pillow that, for whatever reason, seems a bit limp in the stuffing area than other pillows. Well, scrunched up plastic bags are useful for fluffing them right back up. You can even do this for cushions and dog beds. I only do this for temporary purposes, but it can definitely be left permanently!
21. Carry wet towels and clothes at the beach or pool
It’s always the case that when you’re done at the beach or pool, you have a bunch of wet stuff lying around, like towels, swimsuits, and other items. Placing them in plastic bags removes the possibility of getting more items wet (like in your car) while also knowing exactly where everything is.
22. Gym toiletry bag
When I make it to the gym (I should really go more…), there’s always a bunch of toiletries I bring with me. Recently, I decided to start storing all of my things in a plastic bag so it doesn’t interfere with other items in my gym bag and so it stays dry when I’m taking a shower.
23. Ikea manual and extra parts
How many times have you and your family put together Ikea furniture only to end up with a manual, some tools, and extra pieces? This is all too common in my experience, so being able to use plastic bags to store these items is very useful.
24. Keep clothing shoulders dust-free
Having a proper sportcoat or suit cover for every piece of clothing that needs it isn’t too common for me, so I thought maybe I could use plastic bags. Now, I use plastic bags to cover the shoulders of some of my clothing items by cutting a hole at the bottom and putting the hanger through it. This keeps everything fresh for when I need them.
25. Feet protector in snowy weather
I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of getting my feet wet when wearing shoes. Whether it’s Winter and there’s a lot of slush around or simply a rainy day with puddles, sometimes I’ll wrap up my feet and socks with a plastic bag before putting on my boots so they stay dry. However, I don’t do this for too long as things can start to get a little smelly!
26. Package padding for shipping fragile items
Sometimes I need to ship some items out to friends or to people I sold some things on eBay, so I often reuse the many plastic bags I own as padding in the package. This is extremely useful because package padding can be a little pricey sometimes, and plastic bags work perfectly when scrunched up.
27. DIY jump rope
There are some really cool things you can make with plastic bags and a jump rope is one of them. By braiding the plastic in such a way, you can make a durable and light jump rope for anyone of any size.
28. DIY kite
A long time ago, making kites out of spare plastic bags used to be a very common thing to do in my home. It’s actually very easy to do and can be a lot of fun. You can make your kite into a bunch of shapes and designs!
29. DIY baby crinkle toy
Sometimes small toys can be expensive and even dangerous for babies, so making them a simple crinkly toy stuffed with plastic bags is a great way to keep them smiling. It’s very easy to do and most babies will find it super entertaining to play with.
30. DIY rug
Rugs come and go all the time at my house because they just get so messy. However, now you can make them out of spare plastic bags by braiding the plastic! This obviously takes longer than just buying your own, but it’s fun to make!
31. DIY purse
Another fun activity to do with your loved ones is to create a purse out of the plastic bags you have lying around. This DIY project is a blast for little girls, and, in the end, they’ll have their own personalized, special purse to showcase around.
32. DIY rope
Plastic bags can be used to make a lot of functional items and a rope is definitely one of them. Whatever you’re using the rope for, you’ll likely be able to use a DIY plastic rope. Be careful though, it may not be able to hold as much as other fabric ropes.
33. DIY wreath
If you want to be festive and eco-friendly this holiday season, consider making a wreath out of your spare plastic bags. It’s very easy to do and it’s a fun DIY project to share with friends and family. Plus, it’s a nice conversation starter when you have holiday visitors!
34. DIY placemats
If you want to start replacing some of your old placemats, maybe try to make your own out of plastic bags. It’s not only easy and fun to do, but these placemats can last a very long time. Not a bad deal for some used plastic bags.
35. DIY coasters
Similar to placemats, coasters can be an easy and fun way to replace your coasters. Who knows, maybe someone will ask you about how you made them!
36. DIY gift bows
If you plan on giving a gift, it’s always nice to get one with a bow on top. Well, you can actually make your own bows using plastic bags and a little of your time. This is one of the more creative and fun ways to reuse my plastic bags and always strikes up a conversation!
37. DIY decorative flowers
While having flowers that are real is always nice, sometimes it’s nice to have some around the house that stand the test of time. Using plastic bags to make your own is actually pretty easy and can end up having some cool designs at the end.
38. DIY dog bed
At my house, we have a
39. Shoes in your travel suitcase
Whenever we go on vacation, there’s always some extra pair of shoes we want to bring in case we need to dress up or the other pair
40. Loose travel items
No one wants a bunch of their loose travel items shifting and shaking around inside their luggage while traveling. Using plastic bags to store these items is a great way to avoid this and it allows you to easily organize certain items in your suitcase.
41. Liquid bottles and containers in your luggage
There are times that we want to bring back some bottled drinks or containers full of some potentially messy food after a trip, but we don’t want to mess up our clothes if they open up while traveling. Simply wrapping those items up and tying them off in plastic bags can reduce the possibility of that happening immensely.
42. Used clothes in your luggage
Having clean and dirty clothes mixed together while traveling really just makes all your clothes dirty. As a way to avoid this and to improve the organization of your luggage while traveling, consider putting your dirty clothes in a plastic bag.
43. Dog poop holder during walks
If you have a dog, then it’s likely that you have to take them for walks fairly often while keeping track of anything they “drop” along the way. Using plastic bags to hold onto this stuff can be a very useful way to reuse what waste you already have.
44. Cat litter container
Instead of simply throwing your cat litter into the garbage directly causing a cloud of smoke to arise and stink up the place, consider using a plastic bag. This way you can easily avoid this cloud occurring and make sure your garbage doesn’t smell of cat litter.
45. Reading from your phone or tablet in the bathtub
Sometimes I read articles or e-books on my phone or tablet, and also want to take it into the bath while I relax after a long day. Wrapping them up in a plastic bag keeps your device safe while still being able to take them into the tub with you. As long as the bag is transparent, this is a great solution.
46. Save your extra soap slivers
Every so often, we have to change out the soap in the bathroom or kitchen with a new bar and throw away the little sliver that doesn’t make it. Instead of wasting that soap sliver, consider saving it into a plastic bag underneath the sink and, when you have a good stash, melt them down to create a new soap bar!
47. Cover your plunger
While an extremely useful tool to have in your bathroom, a plunger is not the most charming thing to see on a daily basis. Most of the time it’s not really needed, so we keep the plunger head wrapped up in a plastic bag until we need to use it.
48. Bathroom bin bag
There are so many things we throw away in the bathroom that we often have to keep replacing the garbage bin bags in the bathroom. This is a great opportunity to use plastic bags because they’re usually a great fit for these bins. I’d say this is one of the most common use-cases around my house.
49. Cover plant pots to create a mini greenhouse
If I have plants just starting to sprout or they’re just starting out in the pot, I’ll often cover them up with plastic bags to contain moisture when the suns not on them. This helps create a personal greenhouse for the plant and can encourage a healthy growth rate.
50. Knee guards while gardening
Whenever I do some gardening work outside, I always cover my knees with plastic bags to avoid getting my pants too dirty. This is effective and very easy to do since all you have to do is cut a hole in the bag, put your legs through it, and rubber band it around your knee.
51. Cover fragile plants overnight in the Winter
Some plants aren’t able to handle the outdoors during Winter and often don’t make it. A good way to increase their chances of making it is to cover them up with plastic bags to contain any heat while also removing the chance of frost collecting on them.
52. Store weeds after being pulled
If I’m in the garden pulling weeds, which is often the case now since we stopped using fertilizer, I always throw them into a plastic bag I keep handy with me. Once I’m done de-weeding my garden, I just throw what’s inside the plastic bag into our compost bin.
53. Cover your outdoor hose taps in the Winter
When Winter starts to roll around, you want to make sure that your outdoor hose taps aren’t damaged or frozen over. A great way to keep this from happening is to wrap them up with a cloth, cover the cloth with a plastic bag, and then tape everything down so it doesn’t fall off.
54. Store dirty items in your garden shed
Our garden shed used to be a little messy when it came to loose items like gloves and small hand shovels, but now I store a lot of that with plastic bags. It’s an easy way to keep things organized and the plastic bag keeps any dirt from those items contained.
55. Garbage bins for your car
I don’t know about you, but somehow my car collects a lot of garbage. I used to just do a weekly sweep to keep it clean, but now I put mini garbage bins inside with plastic bags. This way it’s super easy for me to keep my car looking clean and tidy!
56. Store oil, washer fluid, de-icer fluid, and
cloths in your car trunk
I don’t want a bunch of items sliding around in the trunk of my car, so I decided to put everything, like oil, washer fluid, de-icer fluid, and cloths, inside some plastic bags. Now, whenever I need to put things back there, all of those items are neatly put away in a plastic bag.
57. Cover you car side mirrors during Winter
It’s not uncommon to find my side mirrors iced over during the Winter, resulting in me having to scrape it away. One way I’ve found to keep this from happening is to cover my side mirrors with plastic bags when I’m not driving so all I have to do is take them off in the morning. No more ice!
58. Car sickness bag
There have been times when my children have gotten a little sick in our car and had nowhere to let it all out. Apart from using plastic bags for garbage bins in the car, it’s a good idea to keep those spare plastic bags handy in the glove compartment in case anyone starts getting car sick.
59. Donate them to local establishments
I’ve found that if you ask local schools, libraries, food banks, or thrift stores if they’d like any plastic bags, they’re almost always going to take you up on your offer. If you find yourself with an overwhelming number of plastic bags, consider donating them.
60. Recycle them
You can also recycle your plastic bags! A lot of plastic bags can be recycled, which is highly encouraged, especially if they’re clean. Sadly, plastic can take up to 1000 years to biodegrade, so recycling them makes a huge positive difference to our planet.