General Question

NUNYA's avatar

How can I make use of the plastic bags I get from the stores? Do you save yours? What do you do with them?

Asked by NUNYA (3207points) December 19th, 2009
57 responses
“Great Question” (9points)

Seems every store these days has the plastic bags. I have a bazillion of them. I wonder if there is a way to get another use out of them. Like how to recycle them. Any ideas? One thing I do is, I take them to the local library and they use them for the folks that check out too much stuff. It is a good idea.

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pjanaway's avatar

I save them up and use them as bin bags.

deni's avatar

or start using those canvas bags so you dont have so many leftover! i know there are places you can go drop a bunch of them off and they reuse them, or something. my dad is a neat freak and he folds them and keeps them in a pile in a cupboard, its so funny and weird.

stemnyjones's avatar

I save all of mine, for a variety of purposes:

1.) Cat poop! To dispose of it after I scoop the litter box.
2.) Baby poop! To wrap up diapers so they don’t smell up the trash can.
3.) Mini trash bags for the mini trash pails throughout the house (in the bathroom, etc).
4.) Easy disposable bags for bringing things to and from places, or storing things (like a bunch of packets of oatmeal, etc).

azlotto's avatar

I use them for trash can liners.

NUNYA's avatar

@stemnyjones Awesome ideas! Thanks!
@deni I know other folks that fold them. I use to work in a daycare and one little ol’ lady would bring us MANY and she folded each on of them and used one of the plastic bags to haul them in. I use to giggle that she had “too much time” on her hands. But it was great because we used the plastic bags at the daycare every single day. Thanks!
@azlotto @pjanaway Very good ideas. I use them in the smaller trash cans too! Thanks!

dpworkin's avatar

“Doggy” bags

Vunessuh's avatar

I use them to pick up dog poop, to use for recycling (put my cans and bottles inside), and to line my bathroom trash can with.

laureth's avatar

I cut them into long strips and crochet them into better, more durable tote bags. (It takes about 80 bags or so to make one tote bag.) They last for a long time, and I don’t need any more until my bag wears out. It’s been years.

Edit to add: They look something like this.

dpworkin's avatar

@laureth So ambitious!

NUNYA's avatar

@pdworkin as in doggie doo doo bags? Thanks tons!!!
@Vunessuh I’ve done that too! GREAT idea! Thanks much hun! (((HUG)))
@laureth OMGosh! Really? That is incredible! I can’t crochet. But it sounds way good! I bet you could sell those at a flea market or garage sale or something. I mean people are always looking for ways to help the environment and you just did it!!!! 80 bags worth! GREAT answer and thanks!!!

laureth's avatar

I bet I could sell them, but considering how long they take to make, I’d be making about a penny an hour or something ridiculous like that.

dpworkin's avatar

My girlfriend made me a sleeve, open at both ends, but with elastic, and I shove the bags in the top, and then pull one or two out of the bottom when I walk the dogs.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I use them for dog poo and bra stuffin’

pjanaway's avatar

@laureth – Too much effort xD.. lol

NUNYA's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille bra stuffins? ROFLMAO! Men gotta love that! HAHAHAHAHA! (((HUG))) Thanks tons!!!

Aethelwine's avatar

Like others have said, I use mine for animal poo and trash liners. I bring a couple with me when I walk the dogs. I also take mine back to Walmart and put them in the recycle bin that they have in the entrance to the store.

I know that Goodwill often asks for donations of bags for their stores.

absalom's avatar

We use like 1% of our plastic bags for trash bins. The other 99% are stuffed into (no, not @lucillelucillelucille‘s bra) yet another, bigger bag somewhere in the house, and constitute our trash bin plastic bag reserves.

Vunessuh's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille Bra stuffin? LAWL! Thanks for the idea.
(goes to stuff her bra)

lovemypits86's avatar

i use them to line my bathroom trash and poop bags for the dos insead of paying money for poop bags

gailcalled's avatar

I use cloth bags and baskets for everything now. When I occasionally get stuck, I ask for paper, since we must put our paper recyclables in paper bags for the transfer station. As others have said, I keep a few around for messy stuff.

galileogirl's avatar

You might think about hanging on to them because the day will come when they are no longer available. They are forbidden in SF grocery stores so now we hoard them for dog poo pickup, bathroom waste can liners or just lightweight carrying bags (like carrying papers to grade)

lonelydragon's avatar

There are several different ways to re-use these bags. As others have mentioned, grocery store bags are great liners for small trash cans. I also use them as lunch bags, and they are excellent for wrapping fragile items to go into a box or suitcase.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Waste basket liners, cat litter box liners or split them open and use them as painting dropcloths.

toomuchcoffee911's avatar

Dog poo bags.

edit: just make sure they don’t have any holes in them, believe me…

smartfart11's avatar

Trash bags, lunch boxes, pooper scoopers like @toomuchcoffee911 said. Miscellaneous, really.

NUNYA's avatar

@galileogirl Really? I never thought I’d see the day. I guess hangin’ on to them would be a good idea! Thanks!!!

Rude_Bear's avatar

I save a couple in my car and use them when we get foul weather, like today. I wrap them around my side view mirrors, so they don’t get frozen over with snow and ice. My experience has been that scraping always messes them up and it takes me forever to get them back to where I want them.

Baggins's avatar

I use the bags we collect for dog cleanup bags, Nunya. Good question and some real insightful answers.

NUNYA's avatar

@Rude_Bear I never thought of that! Excellent idea! I have used a blanket/rug for my windshield a few times to keep it clear. My son was born in March and for the “just in case” he decided to arrive early, I did the blanket on the windshield incase we needed to leave without warming the vehicle! Thanks! (((HUG)))
@Baggins I agree! There are many good answers here. Some I would have never thought of. Like Rude_Bears response. Very good! Thanks Baggins!!!

dalepetrie's avatar

Another vote for scooping the cat box into. I also will use them if I have something that’s growing hair in the refrigerator and I don’t want it to stink up the trash. Basically they’re good for anything gross you want to dispose of. As others mentioned, they make good liners for your small trash cans. Also, most of the grocery stores, particularly the co-ops, but even some of the regular stores around here have bins where you can recycle them. Basically what I do is I only get the plastic ones occasionally when I’m running low, and I ask for paper bags, which I put my paper recycling in, that way I never have too many in the first place. A lot of times we’ll be talking and one of us will say, “next time we go to the grocery store, ask for plastic” because we ask for paper by default and if one of us notices we’re running out, it’s time to switch gears. That one trip then holds us for a while and we go back to paper.

coolbeans's avatar

Yea I keep all of mine they are very useful good for cleaning up of dogs, lunch bags, some people use them as improvised kites but yea keep them they are pretty versatile.

janbb's avatar

Many food stores here in the States are now taking them back for recycling. There is often a bin near the entrance for recycling them. I have been using canvas bags for groceries but find I occasionally need to return to getting the plastic bags for bin liners. The plastic sleeve from The New York Times makes an excellent dog poop bag so even if the news is lousy, the paper is still worth getting.

NUNYA's avatar

@janbb good answer! The stores in my little rinky dink town do not have the recycle bins and that is the problem. I live in a town of about 5,500 people and I’m sure everyone in this town has the same problem. So thanks for sharing!!!

SamIAm's avatar

you can use an empty paper towel holder to store them, or an empty tissue box.

Shemarq's avatar

I use them for cleaning out the litter box, cleaning up dog poo, take my lunch to work (and no, I don’t use the poo bags for that! LOL!!), as a garbage bag in my car, all kinds of uses.

NUNYA's avatar

@Samantha_Rae Very good point. I’d never thought of that. Thanks!

gailcalled's avatar

You can store used plastic bags in a used plastic bag and hang on kitchen doorknob.

dpworkin's avatar

you could collect kitchen doorknobs in a plastic bag

janbb's avatar

but then where would you hang them?

dpworkin's avatar

you can crochet a knob hook out of extra plastic bags. It takes about 80.

janbb's avatar

That job would make me too crochety.

dpworkin's avatar

I really don’t care to hear about your crotch.

janbb's avatar

Score one for pd.

NUNYA's avatar

How about a high five @janbb @pdworkin !!! Lurve ya!!

janbb's avatar

@NUNYA And speaking for both @pdworkin and myelf – Lurve ya back!

NUNYA's avatar

@janbb and lurve ya right back!!! Muha!!

YARNLADY's avatar

I cut them into strips and knit or weave into coasters and placemats.

doesnotmakesenseatall's avatar

Firstly make sure that the stores do not pack my things in any plastic bags, if really required, ask for a paper bag.

The ones I have, reuse them for shopping, bin lining, poo, or anything needed.

The ones I cannot reuse, recycle bin. **smiles**

pearls's avatar

I use them to line my bathroom trash.

dpworkin's avatar

@YARNLADY For real? You make coasters and place mats out of plastic shopping bags? You must set a very fine table.

YARNLADY's avatar

Here is a picture of a bag knitted out of plastic bags similar to the coasters I make. I donate most of the gifts I make to charity fairs and auctions.

gailcalled's avatar

@YARNLADY: What a terrific idea. What size needles do you use? How narrow are the strips? Give us the longer version of how you do that. Everyone knits around here. Maybe a nice carrying case for Milo; or a way to hog-tie him in order to clip nails?

dpworkin's avatar

I think that bag looks pretty cool.

YARNLADY's avatar

@gailcalled As with any knitting, the size of the needles varies with the project. I usually prefer using 8 or 10 because anything smaller hurts my hands. For cutting, you can choose the width of the strips, but too narrow breaks easily. I usually find ½ inch works best. For Plastic Canvas I try to cut thinner.

Cut off the handles and the bottom, then cut the remaining cylinder in a spiral around and around. For a bag, it takes about 80 bags or more. If you find the cutting is drudgery, then this craft is not for you. I make 3 – 4 inch squares for coasters.

Find free patterns on or

You can also make coasters using the fusion method. Cut a bag into several coaster size squares, pile about six or more together. Cover with wax paper, and iron (not too hot) until the pieces fuse, but don’t melt. They will harden into nice coasters.

gailcalled's avatar

@YARNLADY: I will pass this info on to my knitter friends or perhaps take a stab at one during the really dreary months coming up.


Shemarq's avatar

@YARNLADY I think your crafting skills are amazing. I wish I could do that. Maybe if you make enough of them you can be Baglady instead of Yarnlady! Hee hee. I know, bad joke.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Shemarq Good joke, I laughed at that one

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