Seven ways to reuse plastic bags

Saying no to the offer of a plastic bag in shops and instead stuffing everything you buy into your one reusable bag has become pretty routine for many of us.

But sometimes we arrive unprepared or end up buying more than we can carry and reach for a plastic bag instead. We all know plastic is bad news for our environment and oceans, but sometimes it needs to be done.

But what can you do with a plastic bag instead of adding it to the pile you already have at home?

Here are some ways to recycle those bags (so they are no longer single-use at least), and put them to good use.

1. Storage for clothing 
If you haven’t packed your summer clothes away just yet, now’s the time to reach for a supermarket bag. Wash it, cut the handles off and make a hole in the bottom to for the hangers to fit through. Bunch some T-shirts or dresses together, and seal with string. It helps to streamline your wardrobe and will allow you to put your winter clothes front and centre.

Read: How to declutter a messy wardrobe

2. Make bunting

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Supermarket bags can be spun into party bunting or tree tassels. It’s super easy: cut the bottom off a bag and cut three inch strips, leaving a border of approximately five inches (12.7cm) from the top. The handle can be used to thread colourful ribbon or string; and if you’re feeling crafty, draw a triangle on cardboard and use it as your template.

Read: Seven ways to tackle plastic waste

3. DIY plant pots
If you’re short on pots for your growing collection of houseplants, make your own with plastic bags. Snip the bag to the right height, place the container inside, scrunch the bag around and secure with string or twine. Cut a hole underneath and you’ll have drainage too.

4. Use them to line drawers

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Having got everything just so, what better way to keep a drawer clean than by lining it with a plastic liner made from a recycled bag, cut to size. Placed at the bottom of a cutlery drawer, the liner protects the wood from damp knives and forks.

Read: Kitchen cleaning tips that save time and money

5. Bag and grow your own vegies
Leaf lettuce and root vegetables will happily grow inside a plastic bag. Cut drainage holes in the bottom, add the potting mix, plant the seedlings, water generously and watch your garden grow. An added bonus, they can be carried around the garden without breaking your back.

6. Use them to stuff outdoor scatter cushions
Buy outdoor cushion covers without the inserts (less expensive), and pack a punch by stuffing them with as many plastic bags as you can squeeze inside. Sit back, and relax.

7. Turn wire coat hangers into a non-slip pad

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Take those slippery wire coat hangers – most likely from the dry cleaners – and wrap them in plastic bags to pad out your suit jackets and flimsy dresses. It will take a few strips, but keep on winding them round the wire until you’ve got just the right amount of padding. Then tie a pretty bow at the neck of the hook to take it up a notch.

– With PA

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Written by Sam Wylie-Harris