11 Unusual Ways to Reuse Plastic Grocery Bags

by Josh

plastics, reusing / repurposing, shopping bags

Something that happens to me, more often than I care to admit, is that realize I’ve left all my reusable bags in my car while I’m standing in the line at the grocery store waiting to check out. Oh so useful, right?

If you ever find yourself in this situation you could definitely make a mad dash to the car to get the bags. However, if you don’t feel like working up a sweat, then just checkout as normal and get the plastic grocery bags.

Plastic bags????

Worldwatch Institute estimates that Americans throw away over 100 billion plastic bags a year. So I must be crazy for suggesting this, right?

Maybe I am, but why can’t those plastic bags be reused?

Newsflash, they can.



That’s right, those plastic grocery bags can be used for other things other than carrying groceries. Crazy, eh?

If you chose to opt out of the “run to car for the bags” option, then here’s a plethora of ideas for reusing the plastic bags:

#1 – Pet Cleanup – Out on a walk with your dog and he chooses to relieve himself? Use a plastic bag to clean it up.

#2 – Freshness – Wrap bread in plastic bags to keep it fresh, or wrap fruit to keep the fruit flies away.

#3 – Packaging – Plastic bags can be used as a substitute for the styrofoam packing “peanuts” when moving or shipping items.

#4 – Trash Can – Use plastic bags as trash can liners inside small trash cans (such as in the bathroom) or to hold trash in the car & on camping trips.

#5 – Lunch Box – Plastic bags are perfect for carrying your breakfast, lunch, or dinner to work, school, etc.

#6 – Kitchen Cleanup – Line your cutting board with a plastic bag. It makes for easy, quick cleanup.

#7 – Nonstick Substitute – Plastic bags are perfect for use as a nonstick surface when rolling out dough, etc.

#8 – Rope Substitute – Twist a plastic bag tightly and use it as a rope or zip tie.

#9 – Paint Tray Liner – Put a plastic bag inside the paint tray as a liner to pour paint into. This saves time on cleanup.

#10 – Travel – Put your toiletry bag in a plastic bag when travelling to prevent spillage throughout the rest of your suitcase.

#11 – Napkin or Sock Holder – Twist and braid plastic bags in creative patterns and use them to hold rolled up napkins or socks (as pictured above).


With these ideas in mind (so long as you put them into practice) you can relieve yourself of the guilt that comes when you forget those reusable bags at the grocery store. If you’re like me, you might want to keep all your plastic bags in one place and ready for use. If so consider picking up a plastic bag holder.

Although it may seem that having your groceries placed in the plastic bags at the store just supports the continued production and use of them, I challenge you to remember that we live in the real world… and a busy one at that.

I think it’s better to take a little step, reusing the plastic bags, than none at all. In the end, even the smallest step matters.

For more ideas on how to reuse plastic bags, check out RusticGirls.com.

What are some other ways that you have found to reuse plastic bags?

Photo: OhMyStinkinHeck