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Topic: pesky plastic bags

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Subject: pesky plastic bags
Date Posted: 7/31/2009 11:12 PM ET
Member Since: 1/13/2008
Posts: 1,728
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does anyone have any brilliant ideas of what i can do with all the plastic bags i have accumulated? i know i can take them down to walmart and recycle them, but there must be something i can do with them other than the obvious:

  • use them as trash bags
  • use them to pick up gross things like dog poop
  • make plarn bags/rugs


Date Posted: 8/2/2009 11:08 AM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2007
Posts: 172
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wrap books in them before you mail them for PBS?

Honestly, i find I miss those pesky bags sometimes. I use cloth bags for shopping at home and at work (I shop weekly for a residential treatment program - 10-15 bags a week!) and find that I have to occassionally acquire shopping bags from programs at work that haven't gone over to canvas bags. 

Date Posted: 8/5/2009 6:20 PM ET
Member Since: 10/7/2007
Posts: 1,033
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I love Plarn, whenever I get any plastic bags, which is almost never , i make plarn to crochet with.  The only time I get plastic bags is when someone wraps a book in one and sends it to me.  sigh

Date Posted: 3/19/2010 9:06 PM ET
Member Since: 12/11/2009
Posts: 219
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I cut them in half and use them to wrap PBS books in, and if I get way too many, I donate them to our local meat locker and they reuse them.

Date Posted: 3/22/2010 4:06 AM ET
Member Since: 11/9/2005
Posts: 330
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like you said i use them as trash bags and to pick up dog poop


But A lot of stores now have a Bin you can recycle them in now.

Its normally when you first walk into the store

Date Posted: 3/29/2010 9:00 AM ET
Member Since: 6/29/2007
Posts: 526
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Donate them to your local thrift store or other resale shop.

Some local retailers are reusing the bags, too. My mom has a fabric store, and her customers bring bags in for her.

I definitely reuse them for shipping purposes. I hate getting books wrapped in plastic wrap. I'd much rather they use a plastic grocery bag that I can reuse again.

I use them for my lunch bag everyday, too.

I've used them as packing filler when shipping several books, and there's an air pocket that needs filling in the box.

Date Posted: 3/29/2010 11:27 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2005
Posts: 2,426
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I find rather plastic wrap much more reusable--people who use grocery bags tend to chop them to bits & tape them tightly around the book, so I have to destroy it to get it off the book, and it would only fit the same size book anyway.  If folks would just wrap it in the whole bag and ship it then the bag could be reused.

I second the ask your locally owned resale/thrift shop.  Ours gladly takes plastic bags.

Getting rid of the grocery bags has never been a problem for me, between stores & garbage cans.  I keep our bag from when we used to get them from the store, but it is slowly going down. It's all these other sizes.  Yes, I can ship books in them--I don't get near as many book orders as I seem to accumulate little plastic bags from the newspaper and who knows what else.

Date Posted: 4/1/2010 8:47 AM ET
Member Since: 1/9/2006
Posts: 178
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We do use them for trash can bags, but we usually have a lot left over. They come in handy when we or our church have a yardsale. We pass them out to shoppers to help carry items. Also, when we have bbq fundraisers at church, they're good for when someone has many take-out plates.

Or you can fuse them into reusable bags: http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-your-own-plastic-tote-bag-from-recycled-plast/

Last Edited on: 4/1/10 8:48 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/14/2010 11:24 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
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Use them to make iron on decals for kids clothing. Or make "fabric" out of them by fusing several together. Then you can make all kinds of neat stuff like this plastic bag rain coat.

Date Posted: 4/16/2010 12:51 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
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Found an awesome tute to make a bird seed bag grocery tote.

Anna (AniL) -
Subject: Do you crochet or knit?
Date Posted: 6/22/2011 12:26 PM ET
Member Since: 2/20/2009
Posts: 323
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Here's a few ideas for you. If you crochet or knit, you might think about using the plastic bags to make re-usable grocery bags (like the cloth ones). Just lay them flat and cut them into strips. Tie the ends together and just continue to use the strips as you would yarn. They're thicker and sturdier than some of the cloth bags and they last for a really long time. Use them for kitchen or bathroom trash cans. It's so much better than purchasing bags for them. I us trash baskets that I can clean an sanitize without having to use the plastic. Hope this helps someone!


Date Posted: 7/6/2011 8:35 AM ET
Member Since: 12/11/2009
Posts: 7
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I have a billfold wallet made from recycled plastic bags. These are made in India and sold throughout the world in free trade stores online, and in cities in the United States. Most other countries are much better than we Americans at recycling their used materials. Also: simply Google "What can I make from my used plastic bags?" Try putting quote marks around your question. That should turn up quite a number of creative websites. Plastic bags can be layered with a gentle heat source such as an iron. Careful at this stage, as you don't want to end up with plastic goo all over your iron. Then, when you get a thickness you can work with, cut and sew, just as you would with thin leather, oilcloth, etc.

Last Edited on: 7/6/11 8:41 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/10/2011 1:40 PM ET
Member Since: 2/15/2006
Posts: 214
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I have a bag made from blus Walmart bags. It is quite strong, and popular - it garners all kinds of attention!

Date Posted: 7/20/2011 1:19 PM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2010
Posts: 5
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We use them mostly for trash, for picking up icky things like dead birds, dog poop, rotten fruit. Also use them for my lunch/snack bag which I take to work. In California, where I live, they wanted to ban plastic bags but the measure failed...thank goodness. There is some common sense among California politicians...sometimes.

Subject: Plastic bags
Date Posted: 10/4/2011 4:24 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,487
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They multiply like rabbits at my house! Occasionally my younger daughter comes and takes some for use with the pre-schoolers she works with. We use them to line the smaller garbage cans. I do wrap books in them


Date Posted: 10/8/2011 9:45 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2009
Posts: 621
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I can't get enough plastic bags if I'm travelling.  I use them to wrap individual shoes and,  if I run out of socks and underwear to pack, to fill up the corners of the suitcase.  They provide almost weightless cushioning.


Subject: pesky plastic bags
Date Posted: 3/25/2015 10:25 PM ET
Member Since: 9/12/2011
Posts: 1
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When these accumulate, I stuff a bunch into a plastic bag, tie it shut, and then toss them into the trunk. If I stop at a garage sale, or a thrift store, the people there are generally very happy to get them to re-use for their merchandise.

I also used them as stuffing for beds for my two cats. I just cut two rectangles of flannel, sewed them together, putting a simple zipper in one side. Then, I stuffed as many plastic bags as I could fit into the 'pillow bed', and they love them. They make a nice crinkly noise, and they are nice and warm in the winter. When they get too flat, voila', just add more plastic bags.


Date Posted: 3/30/2015 4:20 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2005
Posts: 2,426
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I tackled this problem by 1) cutting back drastically on the # of bags that come in the house in order to avoid having the situation again.  Figured out how to keep reusable bags such that I actually took them inside stores and try very hard to keep plastic bags out.  They sneak in, but at a much slower pace, and they aren't getting out of hand.

Once the influx was handled I did this:

Sorted out the proper ones for garbage cans and stuffed them really tight into a container to take up as little space as possible.

Gave a bunch to a local thrift shop. Stuff new ones in the box to take there when I take other stuff for donation as well.

Took any that were torn or so thin to be unusable to recycle at the store

Slowly they've been going down, but we may have hit stable level, but they are all stuffed in a bag so aren't attacking me anymore!

Date Posted: 6/15/2016 11:04 PM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2008
Posts: 108
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You might also check your food banks or shelters that provide groceries to individuals and families in need.  Mine also took my accumulation of plastic utensils from all my take out orders that I didn't use.  I hated throwing them away and now they are being put to good use. 

Date Posted: 7/15/2016 5:24 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 3,574
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Our library loves getting plastic bags for books to go home with patrons.  I use reusable bags for the most part but like many of you, they sneak into my house all too often.

Date Posted: 1/17/2017 1:29 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Use cloth reusable bags, and the plastic bag situation at least slows down.  What I don't reuse other ways, go into curbside recycle bin.  But apparently here in Seattle, we are further along in recycling than many other areas.

Date Posted: 6/5/2017 8:25 PM ET
Member Since: 12/4/2008
Posts: 207
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I use reusable bags most of the time so get few plastic bags. But all those plastic bags I get usually get used lining small garbage bags or doubled for scooping cat litter. I also use for shipping larger books instead of the Glad wrap. The only plastic bags that end up in the recycle bin either have holes or were used to contain meat or chicken to reduce washing the tote bags. My mom doesn't use the plastic bags but I sort through them and donate the heavier duty ones to the library. They go through a bunch whenever it rains.

Last Edited on: 1/27/18 10:51 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/24/2018 3:35 PM ET
Member Since: 3/5/2011
Posts: 542
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I donate to myelementary school.  They are always in need of them to send something home in.

Date Posted: 7/5/2018 6:55 PM ET
Member Since: 2/12/2006
Posts: 5,196
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At a popular trail when many walk their dogs, there is a section of chain-link fence  and a couple of trash cans.  People tie extra plastic bags to the fence for anyone who forgot to bring one when walking their dogs!  There is a constant turn-over of bags, so I know they get used and having forgotten to grab a bag when walking my neighbor's dog, I know what a relief it is to find a bag to use!

Date Posted: 2/23/2019 10:45 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 4,595
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Actually, I'm trying to accumulate them. After August 1st, the plastic bags will be illegal in the town where I live, so I won't be able to use them as trash bags anymore. The town will also forbid foam containers. I wonder how I'll get my extra spare ribs home?