General Question

camertron's avatar

What can I do with my extra plastic grocery bags?

Asked by camertron (2109points) January 21st, 2011

My roommate and I have accumulated quite a collection of plastic bags from grocery shopping and they’re starting to get to be a nuisance. My roommate wants to throw them away, but I really don’t want to! They’ll just end up in a landfill doing no good and not decomposing. Are there any organizations in need of plastic bags that I could give them to? Can I recycle them somehow? Are you, an honest jelly, in need of lots of plastic bags?

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22 Answers

Seelix's avatar

Lots of people use them for kitchen trash bags or when scooping the kitty litter. Here in Toronto there’s a bylaw that all stores must charge 5 cents per plastic bag, so we don’t get them anymore. I actually had to ask my mom for some for the kitty litter :)

If you know anyone with a cat, they might appreciate them.

Or just take them with you when you shop – that way you can reuse them and won’t accumulate any more.

gailcalled's avatar

If you can crochet or are willing to learn, you can make new bags, clothing (including a wedding dress), chairs, wee willie warmer, etc.

For example

And if you want to buy ready-made clothing, here

answerjill's avatar

Some supermarkets have a recycling bin where you can toss old plastic bags. Maybe there can be recycled in other places, too? Or, maybe you can try to give them away on Freecycle or Craigslist.

WasCy's avatar

Trash can liners
Lunch bags
Stuff with newspaper for easier recycling of the papers

I also use them to wrap some of my leftovers in the fridge, or as covers for bowls instead of stretch wrap. I never buy plastic trash bags or cellophane wrap.

tinyfaery's avatar

Recycle them and get some reusable grocery bags.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

One of our local liquor stores takes them and reuses them instead of paper bags.

WasCy's avatar

Actually, I’ve seen a website somewhere… it escapes me right now… where the bags can be crafted by banding and weaving into a super-plastic mesh bag. Sort of on the concept of a ragg rug. I’ll see if I can find that again and post it.

If you google “rewoven plastic bag” and look at “images” you’ll find more than you can look at in a day, I think.

Brian1946's avatar

How about reusing them for grocery shopping?

YoBob's avatar

I use them to line my kitchen compost container. Basically I have a little bucket that we throw all of the organic waste into, and when it’s full it gets dumped in the compost pile in the backyard.

Ultimately, the plastic bag winds up in the land fill, but at least on the way it gets put to use in an environmentally friendly endeavor.

YoBob's avatar

Oh, I just remembered a way cool way that I saw somebody recycle these. Basically she cut them into rings about 1” wide by just twisting the bag into a rope and then cutting 1” sections. She then took the rings and looped them together to make an infinitely long chain. She then used an extra large crochet needle to make “stuff” with. She made everything from cool handbags to an actual dress.

Side note on the dress, she was a 20 something total hottie with the capacity for looking awesome in such experimental garb, and it worked well as an advertisement for her recycled grocery bag accessories, but it’s not something you would wear out on the town. Cool none the less though.

Here’s a link to something similar

Jeruba's avatar

Since California is probably going to ban on them at some point, you might save them for reuse at the grocery store.

We use them as wastebasket liners. They are also sometimes package fillers. Shoes go inside them when we pack suitcases. I store some things in them (such as fragile Christmas decorations wrapped in tissue paper). I can’t actually think of all the things we use them for, but I know that we often run low without throwing them away.

camertron's avatar

Thanks everyone! A friendly Twitterer also pointed me to this link: http://www.ehow.com/how_10885_recycle-plastic-grocery.html

cazzie's avatar

I’ve done this with plastic bags and it works really well. I made a toilet bag from my husband and he hasn’t left it behind in a hotel or on rig or ship yet (he travels for a living…)

FUSE them together and it makes a type of fabric.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Fusing-Plastic-Bags-the-eclipse-way/

incendiary_dan's avatar

You can iron several of them together in between two pieces of cloth. It makes a creates material if you weave them first. You could make new, stronger bags out of that, or tarps, or something else useful.

RocketGuy's avatar

I make sure I use each of my plastic bags at least twice. Last use – dog poop collection.

Bellatrix's avatar

Our supermarkets (Australia) have bins you can bring them back and dump them in. If yours don’t why not ask them if they can look into it? Put it in writing to the senior management? You might start a whole new recycling thing in your area?

Other than that, I reuse them to line bins but that’s about it really. We have a thing under the sink where we stick all our plastic bags and when it gets full, we take them back to the supermarket.

beachbum76's avatar

I take mine to the dog park. They can always use plastic bags for poop disposal.

SamIAm's avatar

Definitely keep them for kitty litter… I collect them and store them in an empty tissue box in a drawer next to the litter box. I nearly freak out when I’m running low (I also use the produce bags that you get at the grocery stores, and I’ve discovered some cheapo ones from 99 cent type stores… there’s one on Divis that has, fyi)

LadyMarissa's avatar

My Walmart has a plastic bag recycle bin just inside the front door. They claim that they recycle them into new bags to be used in the store in the future. Some of the grocery stores here have started doing the same. My local flea market sells recycled plastic bags to their vendors to use for customers buying their wares. They aren’t as sturdy as the original bags but they also don’t cost as much either.

flo's avatar

You can keep using them as long as you keep them clean and untorn.

LadyMarissa's avatar

I do pretty good at keeping mine clean. It’s keeping them untorn where I fail miserably!!! I just put them in the bin at Walmart so they get recycled.

flo's avatar

I just find it’s easier to use the environmental shopping bags, (one for food one for other things) and keep those clean.

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