17 Ways to Reuse Plastic Bags

You'll be reducing your carbon footprint and helping the environment with these cool ways to reuse your plastic bags!

Chances are, you have a pile of plastic bags lying around your house somewhere that you simply do not know what to do with. After all, they don’t necessarily make the list of items that are easily reusable. However, that is not to say that there aren’t some really cool and practical ways you can repurpose the plastic bags you’re not using anymore. From making DIY outdoor pillows to wrapped baskets, here are fun ways you can give your plastic bags a second life. Make sure you also check out the 80 things you should never throw out.

Why it’s important to reuse your plastic bags

Reusing plastic bags is not only good for getting rid of clutter in your home, but it also helps the environment. “It is estimated that 500 billion to one trillion plastic bags are used around the world and billions of those wind up as trash. The bags don’t break down, but morph into microplastics that absorb toxins and pollute the environment,” says Lynell Ross, founder and managing editor of Zivadream. But if you want to go the recycling way, here’s the best way to recycle your plastic bags.

Line your trash cans

“The simplest way to reuse plastic bags (if you aren’t feeling particularly creative) is as trash can liners. It keeps things clean and easy to empty, plus gives the bag an extra life instead of throwing it away,” says Elliott Reimers, nutrition coach at Rave Reviews. “You can use it again and again if the trash can is just recycling, and keeps the bin in fresh and new condition.”

Clean up after your cat

Cats are lovely pets, but there are still parts about taking care of them that are not fun. For example, nobody wants to be the one taking out the cat’s litter. Thankfully, plastic bags make changing cat litter easier. Simply dump the box into the bag and the bag into the trash.

Conquer home manicures

Want a quickie manicure? Coat your hands with a moisturizer and cover them with a plastic bag for 15 minutes. The plastic will keep in your body’s warmth, and your hands will emerge super soft. You can almost pretend you’re at a real nail salon.

Help with shipping

Nobody wants to have their fragile items break when shipping. Thankfully, plastic bags can help prevent that from happening. Simply wrap your items with plastic bags, and then stuff the box full with more plastic bags for more support, and ship ’em out! Your recipient will also be grateful that you didn’t use messy foam peanuts.

Clean up after your dog

Yes, you can buy dog waste bags at the store, but why create more waste? Any plastic bag will do the trick just fine. Simply take a couple with you when going on a walk, and you’ll be all set.

Make outdoor pillows

Are you looking for a DIY project to get your mind off things? Have you been wanting to transform your outdoor patio for a while now? Well, now is your chance. You’ll only need a cute tablecloth and a handful of plastic bags to make Two It Yourselfs outdoor pillows. Besides, it will take no more than 15 minutes!

Make a plant greenhouse

Do you have plants that need to be kept moist all day? Do you keep forgetting to water them? This plastic bag greenhouse will solve that problem for you. Place your plant in a shady spot and cover it with a plastic bag (with some holes poked in it) to make Gardening Know How’s simple greenhouse. It will help keep your plants moist and happy.

Keep your shower clean

Keeping your shower clean can be hard work. Luckily, plastic bags can help tremendously. Simply fill a plastic bag with distilled white vinegar, then tie it around your shower head. It will help prevent the buildup of soap scum and mildew.

plastic bags of used and transparent colorscurtoicurto/Getty Images

Save up on soap

No, you do not need to throw out leftover soap bars. Just toss the slivers into a plastic bag, and wait for the bag to fill up. When it’s full, melt the pieces together to create a new bar of soap!

Rolling out dough

Nowhere to roll out your dough? No problem. Follow the instructions by Expert Home Tips and cut a plastic bag in half to use it as a non-stick surface for rolling out dough. This will also save you time on cleaning as you can throw out the plastic bags when you’re done.

Make a wrapped basket

If you like working with your hands, this DIY project from RadMegan.com is perfect for you. It’s not the easiest project around, but it will certainly keep you busy for a long time. Not to mention, you will definitely feel proud of yourself when you’re done.

Make a pair of sandals

Yes, you read that correctly. You really can make sandals out of plastic bags. It’s not a project for the faint of heart, but if you are a self-proclaimed DIY aficionado, head to Crafster.org and follow the instructions.

Make “plarn” for household crafts

Do you like knitting? Then you’ll be happy to know you can turn grocery bags into plastic yarn! It might sound complicated at first, but it actually is a pretty straightforward process. Lay your bags flat and cut across, top to bottom, to create loops, then knot the loops together to create a long strand of material, according to the instructions at Bobvila.com. Now you have a ball of plarn to use in making anything your heart desires.

Keep your drawers smelling nice

Do you wish your dresser drawers had a more pleasant smell? Just create a scented sachet from plastic bags! Put a few cotton balls into a plastic bag, and add a few drops of essential oil. It’s simple yet effective.

Make your own gift bows

You don’t need to be wasting more plastic to make your gift bags look better—just make one out of the pile of plastic bags you have laying around the house. Just follow the instructions at Creative Jewish Mom, and be as whimsical as you want with your designs! Your gift bags will be the best around for sure.

Make a flowerpot

There seems to be no shortage of things you can make out of plastic bags. Follow the instructions at Mami Made Itand create your own creative flowerpot that works both with indoor and outdoor plants.

Make a plastic bag lamp

If you have an afternoon free, this DIY project will surely keep you busy. Besides, you’ll be both giving your room a cozy glow and helping the environment. This project by Instructables gets even better—it requires an eco-friendly LED light bulb! Next, check out the 30 household items you had no idea were reusable.

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