Wow! 39 unexpected ways to reuse plastic bags

Wow! 39 unexpected ways to reuse plastic bags

Whether you use a bag-for-life, a rucksack or even a suitcase for your food and clothes shopping, sometimes you can forget to take them out with you and end up taking plastic bags home instead.

You can often see discarded carrier bags on the ground, or hanging in trees and we all know they can last for a very long periods of time in landfill sites.

I've found a number of ways you can reuse your plastic bags - some of which you really won't expect. If you like the post, please share it with your friends - we're trying to spread the word about Expert Home Tips!

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1. Make a Flowerpot

flowerpot
My my Mr. Basil - you do look rather fetching in that plastic bag pot.

This is a mighty great way to use your leftover plastic bags - making your very own flowerpot out of them! All you need are 7-8 medium-to-large thin plastic bags and a large crochet hook. You can view the brilliant tutorial at MamiMadeIt.blogspot.com.

2. In your holiday suitcase

Plastic bags prove themselves quite useful for when you're going on holiday. Use them to protect any liquids such as perfumes or shampoo bottles in your luggage - and put your dirty shoes in them to keep them away from your clothes. For more great tips like this check out Genius Holiday Hacks: for your Suitcase.

3. In the Bathroom Bin

Line your bathroom bin with spare plastic bags and save yourself from spilling tissues, floss, empty toothpaste tubes and more all over the floor! When it's full, just tie up the top and chuck it in your bin. Easy.

4. Make a skipping rope

skipping rope
Plastic bag skipping ropes - not just for kids.

This is a great way to re-use plastic bags, and the kids will love it too. All you need are some plastic bags, scissors and some duct tape. This is a great idea for the summer, so why not check it out now at ChildhoodList.blogspot.co.uk?

5. Rolling out dough

Cut a plastic bag in half and use it as a non-stick surface for rolling out your dough. You can also make the process even easier by rolling your dough between two plastic bag sheets.

6. For car sickness

Keep some plastic bags in your car just in case a passenger gets car sick. Don't forget to make sure they don't have any holes in them first! You might even choose to double-bag them to further prevent any leakages...

7. In your car boot

If you've got bottles of washer fluid, oil, de-icer and cloths in your car boot, keep them individually wrapped in plastic bags. This will prevent spillages and keep them tidy.

8. Make a pair of sandals

sandals
Wow. Just wow.

Erm, wow. I can't actually believe you can make a pair of sandals using plastic bags, but blow me down, you can. For instructions on how to make them, check out mleak's post at Crafster.org.

9. Food prep bin

If your kitchen bin is far away from where you prepare food, hang a plastic bag on a drawer. This way you can slide all your peelings, chopped tops of carrots and empty packaging into it. You can have two plastic bags hanging on each corner - one for recycling and one for general waste.

10. For car rubbish

Whether it's empty sweet wrappers, fast-food rubbish or tissues, you're bound to experience a messy car every now and again. Keep a few plastic bags in your car for a quick clean-out - or even better, tell everyone to use it as a car bin bag from the start.

11. Storage for other plastic bags

Keep all your plastic bags in one bag so it's easier to grab one out at a time. I usually keep mine below the sink or on the back of the kitchen door.

12. Weave a basket

Basket
Photo & basket by RadMegan.com

If you're creative and great with your hands, you'll want to try making one of these lovely wrapped baskets. You can find instructions on how to do it at RadMegan.com.

13.Protect outdoor taps

Freezing temperatures? Look after your outdoor taps in the winter by taping lots of plastic bags over them.

14. Protect your car

If it's a cold harsh winter, use your spare plastic bags to cover your cars wing-mirrors and windscreen wipers. This will save you having to scrape ice off them.

15. Clothes wrap

Prevent your winter or summer clothes being eaten by moths and wrap them all up in plastic bags.

16. Clothes hanger cover

hanger
Genius idea for your plastic bags.

If you have a lot of metal hangers and your clothes keep slipping off them, fret no longer! You can reuse plastic plastic bags to create great covers for your hangers. To create your Recycled Plastic Hanger cover today, follow these fabulous instructions detailed at MyRecycledBags.com.

17. Parcel padding

Selling some items? Keep them safe by using balled up plastic bags as protective padding when you send the items to your buyers.

18. Parachutes for toys

Cut your plastic bags into squares, tie string around the corners and hey presto - you have a parachutes for your toys. This is a great idea for the kids, or grown-up kids!

19. Flowers

flowers
They almost look real!

Make beautiful flowers from your old plastic bags! Check out this fantastic YouTube instruction video from ArtsnCraft4U and get crafting today.

20. When you move house

Protect glass items and ornaments by balling up plastic bags and using them as packing material. You will cushion the glass and keep your precious items safe on the journey to their new home.

21. As stuffing

If you've got thick cushions or pet beds that need re-stuffing, try using plastic bags. It's a free alternative to buying more stuffing!

22. By the front door

Protect your floors and carpet from sopping wet umbrellas by storing some plastic bags by the door for your family and guests to use. You can also keep some spare plastic bags for dirty shoes like football boots and wellies to be transported outside for cleaning.

23. Make a rug

rug
What lovely colours.

Did you know you can make a rug out of your spare plastic bags? No, neither did... and they look so pretty too! Find out more on how you can make your own rug at HomesteadWeaver.com.

24. Protect your plants

Loosely tie a plastic bag around your plants overnight to protect them from the frost. Just remember to remove the bag in the morning.

25. Take them on dog walks...

...I think you know why.

26. Packed lunches

If you're worried about a leaking lunch-box, or just need something to carry your lunch in, then use your trusty plastic bag!

27. Seal a paint can

paint can
Brilliant household hack.

When you're finished painting for the day, place a plastic bag on top, then put the paint lid on. This will prevent any dry old paint that may have accumulated in the lid from slipping into the can.

28. Take them swimming

No, I don't mean swim with your plastic bags - use them to hold your wet towels and swimsuits so you don't get the rest of your belongings sopping wet. Put your shampoo and conditioner into a plastic bag to prevent them from leaking.

29. When you're painting

Need a break from painting the walls? Tie a plastic bag around your paintbrush, remembering to wrap it tight so there is no air. That way, you won't have to clean your brush!

30. Make a Pom Pom

pompom
What a beautiful pom pom it will be.

Follow the instructions from Lulastic.co.uk on how to make Pom Poms out of plastic bags. You can use your creation in lots of different places, maybe as a party hat topper or as a gift wrapping bow.

31. PE Kits & Gym Bags

Transport stinky clothes in plastic bags from the gym to your washing machine.

32. Organise your freezer

Separate your freezer goods into different plastic bags for easy access. Keep all your frozen vegetables together, ice cream and lollies, all your leftovers and then label them with a permanent marker.

33. In the garden shed

Have you got a messy, organised shed? Use plastic bags to store dirty gloves, rags and other gardening bits and bobs in.

34. Make a kite

kite
Such innocent fun.

Oh this takes me back, I remember making a plastic bag kite when I was very young. Why don't you make one today with these great instructions from WikiHow.com.

35. Keep your trousers clean

If you love to garden then keep your knees clean by tying some old plastic bags around them. This will protect you from mud - you can tie lots around your legs, to keep your knees padded and comfy while you work.

36. Ask your local schools

Often schools may need plastic bags, for crafts or reusing. Ask at your local schools to see if they would like yours.

37. Shoe protectors

If it's raining heavily or muddy outside, grab a couple of plastic bags and use them over your shoes to protect them.

38. Make a shopper bag

Bag
I want one!

This is a pretty snazzy way to re-use your plastic bags - make a trendy shopper bag. Here are the instructions from EstyLabs.Blogspot.co.uk, I can't wait to give it a whirl.

39. Recycle them!

Look for your nearest plastic bag recycling facilities at your local big supermarkets. Sainsbury's have recycling banks for carrier bags and
Morrisons have collection points for carrier bags and batteries.

 

I hope you've enjoyed the list! If you've got an idea for your old plastic bags, please comment below - I'd love to hear them!

Author

Colleen B

Editor

Lifelong biscuit addict. Obsessed with recipes, cooking & eating. Slightly lazier than the average bear, so likes writing about life hacks & discovering the quickest / easiest way to do things.

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  1. Author shona on July 4, 2015 at 10:51 am

    Making kites takes me back, I used to do that for my daughter and the kids on the estate, great fun! I am inspired to be creative again and will buy a crochet hook! Thank you for my next adventure and carry on being wonderful xxx

    1. Author Colleen B on July 6, 2015 at 8:58 am

      Thank you so much for your kind comment Shona. Hope you have fun creating, we'd love to see a photo of what you make!

    Reply
  2. Author joanne on July 4, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    put a plastic bag in your hand-bag to sit on if a wall is dirty or sit on grass with it, useful for extra shopping when you are out.

    1. Author Colleen B on July 7, 2015 at 1:20 pm

      That's a fabulous tip, thanks Joanne! :)

    Reply
  3. Author Ann White on July 4, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    Brilliant, I love all the idears. Well here's another one. "Christmas Wreath" take a wire coat hanger . pull into a circle then cut the bags into a lot of strips then tie the strip close to each other until you have covered the ring .you can make it any colour my ones made all have been White. Once you have cover the ring then you can add Christmas bits and bobs bend the hook over and put it in your window or door. This can be used every year as long as you look after it. Have fun.

    1. Author Colleen B on July 6, 2015 at 8:57 am

      That sounds like a brilliant way to use plastic bags - have you done that before Ann?

    Reply
  4. Author Sarah on July 9, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    I love all the tips from experthometips.com Why not reuse carrier bags making a draught excluder? You could use fabric and stuff it with carrier bags or get a refuse bin bag and stuff with carrier bags.

    1. Author Colleen B on July 10, 2015 at 11:02 am

      Ooh that's a great idea for carrier bags Sarah - have you done that before with them?

    Reply
  5. Author tanya on October 3, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    I use them to wrap my hair when dying it. Saves my cute shower cap from getting stained :)

    1. Author Colleen B on October 5, 2015 at 9:48 am

      Great tip Tanya, thanks!

    Reply
  6. Author Mami Made It on October 5, 2015 at 7:21 am

    WOW! What a surprise! Thank you so much for featuring my flowerpot amongst all the other great projects. What a great collection!

    1. Author Colleen B on October 5, 2015 at 9:46 am

      Your flowerpot is brilliant Mami Made It - thank YOU for the tutorial!

    Reply
  7. Author lucy allison on October 10, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    I made a shed out of plastic bags

    1. Author Colleen B on October 12, 2015 at 2:02 pm

      Really? That's amazing Lucy - we'd love to see a photo!

    Reply
  8. Author Allen Beale on November 5, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    Very good ideas well done I will even try some of them thanks

    1. Author Anushka F on November 6, 2015 at 10:16 am

      Thanks Allen! Let us know how you get on.

    Reply
  9. Author Juliette on November 6, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    Hi there, I found putting plastic bags over your socks in Winter keep your feet lovely & warm. Especially with boots or trainers.

    1. Author Colleen B on November 9, 2015 at 2:16 pm

      Hi Juliette, what a great tip, thanks!

    Reply
  10. Author Spencer Broadley on January 27, 2016 at 8:39 am

    Another way for plastic bags is to take any surplus bags you have to a Foodbank, which I do - Foodbanks always need plastic bags/boxes for people to carry their stuff home. Hope you will add this somewhere in your list.

    1. Author Anushka F on January 29, 2016 at 11:38 am

      Thanks for this great suggestion Spencer!

    Reply
  11. Author Gill on February 1, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    Hi When I used to ride motorbikes and go on rallys I used plastic bags to keep my feet warm and dry by putting them over my socks but inside my boots :)

    1. Author Colleen B on February 1, 2016 at 5:21 pm

      That's a great tip Gill, thanks for that!

    Reply
  12. Author Gill on February 1, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    Also another use my daughters and I use them to cover our hair when dying it. Keeps the smell at bay and we look gorgeous :)

    Reply
  13. Author Ian taylor on February 4, 2016 at 8:39 am

    For putting other carrier bags in... I found these tips you provided very useful thankyou

    1. Author Colleen B on February 16, 2016 at 12:48 pm

      Thanks Ian!

    Reply
  14. Author Ian taylor on February 4, 2016 at 8:40 am

    I like your comments thankyou

    1. Author Colleen B on February 16, 2016 at 12:48 pm

      Hope you enjoyed the post Ian!

    Reply
  15. Author Brian on February 5, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    thanks now I got to go out and do more shopping!

    1. Author Colleen B on February 16, 2016 at 12:54 pm

      Ha ha, hope you enjoyed the post Brian!

    Reply
  16. Author Eileen Digweed on February 12, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    Your tip about using plastic bags to cover shoes in rainy or muddy conditions is DANGEROUS as they will be slippery and could cause a nasty fall!

    Reply
  17. Author Lynne on February 18, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    I thought I was quite good at finding uses for old bags, but some of these ideas are so innovative. Genius!!

    1. Author Colleen B on February 19, 2016 at 11:48 am

      So glad to hear you liked the post Lynne!

    Reply
  18. Author Dee Lynch on March 9, 2016 at 9:27 am

    I take mine to the local charity shops and also give to sellers at our local festival to give to customers when they buy from their stalls. Can't put them in the bin have to find a use for them even when they have holes or broken handles they go to the recycle bag bank

    1. Author Colleen B on March 21, 2016 at 4:29 pm

      That's a great idea Dee. Thanks for your tip!

    Reply
  19. Author Romina on March 9, 2016 at 9:36 am

    Use your plastic bags as a hair moisturiseing cap. Smooth conditioner all over your hair, tie it up and place a plastic bag tightly around your hair, this keeps in the moisture. I would not advise you sleep with it on your head as this could cause suffocation, so leave it on for a couple of hours and then when ready just take it off. Whaala your hair will be silky and smooth all week!

    1. Author Colleen B on March 21, 2016 at 4:27 pm

      That's a great tip Romina, I'll be trying that!

    Reply
  20. Author andrea ferguson on March 9, 2016 at 9:42 am

    If you are tempted to try any of these ideas make sure the bags are not the kind that biodegrade. A friend spent ages knitting bags from strips of plastic bags, only to find a while later that parts of them disintegrated :-(

    1. Author Colleen B on March 11, 2016 at 11:51 am

      Oh no! Thanks for your tip Andrea, hope you enjoyed the post.

    Reply
  21. Author Pamela Maine on March 10, 2016 at 11:21 am

    When I had to wear a tight white compression stockings after having an operation, I put a plastic bag over my foot first then found it easy to slide the compression stocking up, pulling the bag off over my foot, through the toe hole of the stocking.

    1. Author Colleen B on March 11, 2016 at 11:50 am

      Hope you're all fixed now Pamela, and thank you very much for the tip!

    Reply
  22. Author Moreen Humphreys on March 11, 2016 at 11:38 am

    Great article about reusing plastic (polyethylene) bags, they are WASTE to WASTE. David Cameron please note. I purchase my food from Tesco on line to be delivered to my home as I am disabled and cannot shop personally, we then used them to line my pedal bin and as they have handles they can be knotted at he top and put in the wheely bin, (keeps bin nice and clean) Apart from that polythene comes from WASTE oil, the crude oil is refined to make petrol and diesel, then the waste oil is put into a machine called a Cracker, the cracker then "cracks" the waste oil and creates small pearl like granules which are then sold to people like me and my husband (who was the largest manufacturer of polythene carrier bags in Europe) we put the granules in a machine called an Extruder which heats it up, blows the film into a bubble, then converts the film into bags.

    1. Author Colleen B on March 11, 2016 at 11:47 am

      Wow, that's so interesting Moreen - I've just looked up the Extruder machine. Glad you liked the article!

    Reply
  23. Author Mrs Lesley Duke on March 26, 2016 at 7:41 am

    This amazing site is not only practical but funny and sweet. Glad I'm on it

    1. Author Colleen B on April 5, 2016 at 4:34 pm

      Hi Lesley, so happy to hear that you like the site! Please share it with all your friends.

    Reply
  24. Author Deborah on May 4, 2016 at 6:37 am

    Really good ideas thanks

    1. Author Colleen B on May 4, 2016 at 11:13 am

      I'm glad you enjoyed the blog Deborah, don't forget to share it with your friends.

    Reply
  25. Author Maureen falconbridge on June 20, 2016 at 10:34 am

    Great tips have tried a few my self using a plastic bag after dying my hair using as bin liners for my daughters bin in her bedroom will be trying a few more thanks very interesting ?

    1. Author Colleen B on June 20, 2016 at 2:44 pm

      Glad to hear you enjoyed the blog post Maureen, that seems like a great use too!

    Reply
  26. Author Marinda on July 19, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    This takes me back to my youth in South-Africa, where there was no wastage and plastic bags always got reused. I've had several doormats made from plastic bags and couple of plant pots. But never sandals.... Might be an idea for next time. I put my medium and small bags in an empty tissue box, with each looped through the previous one's handles. Easy to pull out and the next one is right there, for next use.

    1. Author Colleen B on July 21, 2016 at 8:25 am

      Doormats - that sounds like a great idea!

    Reply
  27. Author Liza on August 1, 2016 at 3:14 am

    Love the tissue box tip for storing bags much nicer than just keeping them in another carrier bag. Also like you am gobsmacked by sandals have definitely got to make some. I have used bin liners and carrier bags to make halloween costumes for my little girl she really liked my female pirate costume. You can also make a rustle play bag for your cat by sewing a carrier bag inside an old cushion cover leaving zip / one side open (but remove zip) or two squares of fabric. They can also be used instead of newspaper to keep shoes / boots in shape etc.

    1. Author Colleen B on August 1, 2016 at 3:27 pm

      I'm so glad you enjoyed the blog post Liza and thank you for your comments. I love the rustle play bag idea, that's certainly one I'll pass onto any cat owners I know!

    Reply
  28. Author Jack on September 17, 2016 at 6:16 am

    My wife use a plastic bag when we were on holiday as a make shift shower cap as she hadn't bought one with her. She also uses one as a clothes protector when my daughter dyes her hair. She puts a towel around her shoulders the tucks a plastic carrier around the back neckline. I just keep a few in the car and use them to carry stuff from the shops. Brlliant!! We your ideas about every topic of thought. Thanks.

    1. Author Colleen B on September 19, 2016 at 2:18 pm

      Thank you Jack - those are great uses for plastic bags! We hope you have fun reading the rest of the blog.

    Reply
  29. Author theresa on February 21, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Hi I would like to say how well you have done with plastic bags I am going to have a go at making something and post it on here.

    1. Author Colleen B on March 2, 2017 at 3:15 pm

      Thank you Theresa, we can't wait to see it!

    Reply
  30. Author Recyclable poly bags on September 21, 2017 at 7:47 am

    Great! You can also return the plastic bags to some responsible plastic bag manufacturers who recycle them to create new packaging materials. https://www.polypak.com/sustainability/

    1. Author Stephanie C on September 21, 2017 at 10:42 am

      Hi there. Thanks a lot for sharing :)

    Reply
  31. Author christine lyne on February 16, 2018 at 10:52 am

    i use morrisons home delivery service. any carrier bags bought, instore or online, with your shopping can be sold back to them at the same price you paid. yep! thats 5p per bag! they will collect upto £5 worth of bags per delivery. thats a huge saving! well done morrisons! lets hope all supermarkets follow suit very soon.

    1. Author Stephanie C on February 19, 2018 at 10:32 am

      Hi Christine. We didn't know about this - that's amazing. Thanks a lot for sharing this with us, we'll definitely check it out :)

    Reply
  32. Author Mel on September 2, 2018 at 8:50 am

    I donate mine to the local food banks. They are always in need of them

    1. Author Joanne A on September 3, 2018 at 10:40 am

      Great tip! Thanks Mel.

    Reply
  33. Author Audrie57 on November 29, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    I have enjoyed your write up today its been great, we all have our ideas of doing something but you can always take someone' who has perhaps got a better idea, its always worth looking and reading.

    1. Author Joanne A on November 29, 2018 at 2:14 pm

      Glad you've enjoyed it, Audrie! Thanks for getting in touch.

    Reply

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