25 Alternative Uses for Plastic Bags

Following on from yesterday’s post all about the plastic bag menace, I’ve done a bit of a survey to see if anyone has any alternative uses for them. And do you know what? They do!

So, without any further ado, may I present to you (in no particular order) The How Ethical! 25 Alternative Uses for Plastic Bags™

1. Use them as inexpensive home insulation.

2. Use as wet Umbrella Holders.

3. Use as planter fillers, crumple bags to fill the bottom of a large pot that’s too deep for your plant.

4. Use them as you would a rubber glove when you don’t have rubber gloves handy.

5. Use them to protect your plaster cast so you can take a shower after you break your foot (for example – you could also use it to protect a plaster cast on an arm too, I imagine).

6. Use as a shower cap.

7. Use a small one as a rain bonnet.

8. Knit them in to something useful:


9. Or make a mat:


More evidence of this here:

“When I was in the Brownies (don’t laugh!) we used to weave plastic bags into a simple mat to sit on round the camp fire”

Editor’s note: After consulting with my legal department, How Ethical!, of course, “don’t condone, recommend or even suggest sitting on highly flammable materials when sitting around a fire”. No toasted brownie jokes, thanks.

10. OR for a doormat for wet days.

11. Make some plastic bag yarn.

12. If you cut holes in the right places, you can get a small apron like thing to protect shirts/tops when cooking.

via OneLittleFish at Efestivals.

13. Use them as bags to carry things in. That might sound obvious, but Purple Monkey, also from Efestivals uses up all his bags on his many carrying quests.

14. Keep a few in the car, so that if you ever need to change your car tyre, you can lean on them and it saves getting your knees dirty.

15. User larger bags to line your dustbin.

16. Cover a paintbrush with a plastic bag when you go for a break or even overnight. Make sure the bag is closed tightly and this will prevent the paint from drying out on the brush.

NB. This only works for brushes used in emulsions and other water-based paints!

17. Make a recycled crochet plastic bag necklace.

18. Sponge paint with a bag instead of a sponge. Crumple bags up, dip in paint, dab on paper, and then apply to walls for that “rag effect”. (I think that this is similar to the well known “rag rolling” painting and decorating technique.)

19. Cut a bag into strips to hold vines and canes and other plants in place, but don’t tie them too tightly!

20. Use them as shower caps. Just find one that fits, or use a larger one and tie it around your head, rolling a cuff to keep it in place better.

21. Use recycled bags to take bottles to the bottle banks.

22. Tuck a plastic bag under your bike seat, then if it gets wet in the rain while you’re shopping or whatever, you can pull the bag out, slip it over the wet seat and ride off on your bike in comfort.

23. Take a bag with you when you walk the dog, so that you can clean up after it.

24. Andy says… “My friend Rita folds them up and gives them to our local “open all hours” store so they get re-used. Nice touch as they normally just give out plain bags and think its funny that people get an Asda bag from the corner store.”

…and he also informs us that:

25. There’s a lady in Windy Nook who crochets them into clutch bags. What’s even better is that she uses Co-op bio-degradable bags so that after about a year they begin to degrade. Cool.

So there you go. Not 10, but 25 top tips for re-using your old plastic bags. Thanks to everyone who sent in suggestions. 🙂


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