10 Re-Uses For Plastic Grocery Bags

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Photo by normanack

Even though I bring my own bags shopping, I still seem to end up with many plastic grocery bags in my house. Rather than throw them out, I came up with 10 ways to re-use the ones that come into my house.

1. School waterproofing

So many school bags are not waterproof. By wrapping books and papers in a plastic bag and putting them in the backpack, everything stays dry. A hint: wrap things up, folding over the top and put the folded end of the bag down when inserting into the backpack. This minimizes the chance of water seeping in through the open end of the plastic bag.

2. Poop bags

Anyone who has a dog should pick up after the dog. While they make nifty little bags and holders to clip onto the leash, a good old grocery or newspaper bag will do the trick. Hint: make sure the bag doesn’t have holes in it before using it for this purpose. Yes, that tip is from experience.

3. Packing material

If you need to send something in the mail, but you don’t want it to move, choose to pack the box with plastic bags. They get into nooks and crannies and are easier to obtain and more green than Styrofoam peanuts. Plus the recipient can reuse the bags. Consider sending a copy of this article as well!

4. Shape holders

If you have ever gotten a pair of leather shoes really wet, you know that they can dry in really odd shapes. Use grocery bags to hold the shape of the shoe while it dries. Hint: remove the bags soon after the drying process to allow the inside of the shoe to dry.

5. Yarn

If you are looking for a durable material to craft from, try strips of grocery bags. Cut into strips, these bags can be made into rugs, purses and more. Look for patterns that show you how to prepare the bags.

6. Garbage bags

Of course, you can always use the grocery bag as a garbage bag. We line our small trash cans with them to save on cleanup and to make taking out the trash easy. We also use them in to hold the waste from the cat box. Hint: again,make sure your bags don’t have holes in them if you want to use the for this purpose.

7. Grocery bags

They started out as grocery bags, so why not use them again? Most bags have at least two more grocery runs in them. Take bunch with you to the grocery store and have them pack your food in them.

8. Project grouping

If you have a lot of projects going at once, use grocery bags to group them together. Put all the materials for a single project in one bag, and you will never have to look for parts again!

9. Temporary seat

If you are outside after a rainstorm, finding a dry spot to sit can be challenging. Use a plastic bag to sit upon, and your seat will be dry. This is a variation of the “sit upon” that Girl Scouts have been using for generations.

10. Bike seat cover

If you are biking somewhere, or have your bike outside, cover the seat with a plastic bag. Not only will it keep the seat dry in case of rain, but it will also keep off “presents” from wildlife.

Do you have a way to reuse plastic bags? Share below.

Photo by normanack


  1. Rachel says

    Great list! I find many uses for plastic grocery bags, but I’m trying to cut back on my pile by switching to reusable ones for at least some of my shopping trips.

    Also, I want to let you know about the typo in #6: “holds” instead of “holes.” :-)

    • LJ Earnest says

      This is what I get for writing on the iPad. Auto-correct. Except it should be called Auto-wrong. Or auto-put-a-similar-but-not-the-intended-word-in-just-to-embarass-the-writer. Nope, that last one is too long, even if it is the most accurate. :)

  2. occhiblu says

    I volunteer at an animal shelter, and they are always looking for plastic bag donations to help clean up after the dogs. If you have a bunch of bags, you might want to contact your local shelter and see if you can help them out!