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50 Ways to Reuse Your Grocery Bags

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The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the world consumes somewhere between 500 billion and a trillion plastic bags each year, with millions ending up in landfills, oceans, lakes, rivers, trees, streets and who knows where else. Many of these perfectly good plastic bags served one purpose — to carry groceries home and were tossed right away. Grocery bags have more to offer than transporting food. These sturdy, lightweight bags are incredible practical and handy to have around the house, in your car and on a trip. Grocery bags can be reused over and over again before they start to show wear and tear, and even when they do, you can find a number of ways to reuse even the most destroyed bag. So, when you just can’t say no to plastic at the store, try one of these 50 ways to reuse your grocery bags and Mother Nature will thank you.

In and Around the House

Save money on expensive kitchen bags and see what your grocery bags are capable of in and around the house.

  1. Meat Bags
    Use grocery bags to protect meat packages from leaking in your fridge or on the counter.
  2. Shower Cap
    Grocery bags can be transformed into shower caps by putting a bag around your hair and securing it with a rubber band.
  3. Defrosting Bags
    For fast defrosting of frozen meats, vegetables and fruits, place the sealed item in a grocery bag and dip in hot water.
  4. Kitchen Drawer/Cabinet Liners
    Cut grocery bags in half to line drawers or cabinets with them.
  5. Cooking Disposal Bags
    Dispose chicken bones, vegetable peelings and seeds into a grocery bag for easy cleanup while cooking.
  6. Overshoes
    Grocery bags make handy overshoes that fit any foot and keep mud and dirt out of the house.
  7. Moth Repellant
    Keep your sweaters and woolen garments safe from moths by tightly wrapping each one in grocery bags.
  8. Purse and Shoe Stuffer
    Keep your shoes and purses in shape by stuffing them with crumpled plastic bags to fill the empty space.
  9. Organizer
    Grocery bags can help you organize dresser drawers, school supplies, sewing materials and so much more.
  10. Sewing Stuffing
    Turn grocery bags into sustainable stuffing for homemade toys and pillows, by shredding multiple bags into small pieces.
  11. Plant Fillers
    Crumpled grocery bags can be used to fill the bottom of a large pot to reduce your potting soil usage and make the plant weigh less.
  12. Knee Pads
    Keep your pant legs from getting dirty when kneeling in the garden or working on the car by wrapping grocery bags around your knees.
  13. Plant Covers
    Protect your plants from a freeze by placing grocery bags on top of small potted plants.
  14. Ice Chest
    Transport sodas, beers and water bottles in a grocery bag filled with ice for easy carrying, and use the bag to collect empty containers that can be rinsed and recycled at the end.

Trash Before Tossing

Some grocery bags can’t be reused after one go-round in the cat box, trash can or during doggie duty, so be sure you’ve trashed your bags before you toss them.

  1. Doggie Bags
    Next time you take your pup for a walk, bring a grocery bag to clean up after their mess.
  2. Litter Box Liners
    Line the bottom of Fluffy’s litter box with one grocery bag torn down the middle, and wrap the handles around the sides for easy cleanup.
  3. Kitty Litter Bags
    Clean up the litter box by scooping the clumps into a grocery bag and throwing it away.
  4. Protective Gloves
    Grocery bags can be turned into protective gloves for messy jobs, like dog poop duty, cleaning the bathroom or dyeing your hair.
  5. Disposable Diaper Bag
    Do yourself (and others) a favor by putting dirty diapers in a grocery bag that is easily tied and tossed.
  6. Trash Can Liners
    Line your trash cans with grocery bags for easy carrying or a reusable liner.
  7. Car Trash Bag
    Put a grocery bag in the car to clean up during long road trips and mobile eating messes.

First-Aid Bags

When you’re in a pinch, grocery bags make excellent first-aid and emergency supplies.

  1. Cast Covers
    Protect your cast when bathing by covering it with a grocery bag.
  2. Barf Bags
    For queasy car rides and stomach bugs, grocery bags make reliable barf bags when you don’t have time to go elsewhere.
  3. Ice Packs
    Grocery bags make excellent homemade ice packs when filled with ice and tied shut.
  4. Emergency Signal
    If your car has broken down and you are fresh out of flares, flashlights or a t-shirt to hang on your antenna, put an empty grocery bag on your antenna to help draw attention that you’re in need.

Weatherproofing

Grocery bags can weather the storm in more ways than one, and keep you dry in the meantime.

  1. Draft Stoppers
    Keep the cold air out of your house this winter by filling long newspaper bags with grocery bags and placing them at the base of a window or door gap.
  2. Rain Hat
    Protect your hair on a rainy day by wearing a grocery bag on your head or tying it back like a handkerchief.
  3. Snow/Rain Boot Liners
    Line the inside of your snow or rain boots with a cut grocery bag to keep moisture off of your socks and feet.
  4. Wet Umbrella Holders
    Carry a grocery bag around on rainy days to hold your wet umbrella and keep it from dripping water in your bag or all over your house.

Bags into Bags

Use grocery bags for what they do best — carrying just about anything and everything.

  1. Green Grocery Bag
    Grocery bags can be fused together, using a few materials, to make cool and oh-so-green grocery bags that you’ll love to sport.
  2. Toiletry Bag
    Grocery bags make decent toiletry bags because they can hold a bunch of products and keep spills to minimum.
  3. Travel Shoe Bag
    Keep your shoes from touching your clean clothes when traveling, by storing them in grocery bags.
  4. Dirty Clothes Bag
    Bring a grocery bag when traveling so you can keep your dirty clothes separated from your clean ones.
  5. Wet Clothing Bag
    Take a grocery bag to the pool, lake, river or anywhere you expect to have wet clothing or towels and toss them in the bag.
  6. Lunch Bag
    A grocery bag makes a suitable lunch bag, especially when you’re dealing with loose lids and messy meals.
  7. Recyclables Bag
    Carry your recyclable cans, papers, plastics and glass to the recycling center in a grocery bag that can be recycled when empty.
  8. Gift Bags
    Grocery bags can be used as gift bags on their own or torn into smaller pieces to be used as gift bag stuffing.
  9. Beach Bags
    Keep sand out of your beach belongings by toting around a grocery bag that can be tied shut.
  10. Reuse for Shopping
    Most grocery bags can be reused multiple times before they will start to tear, so bring them along when you go to the grocery store or mall.
  11. Reuse for Produce
    Instead of using separate produce bags for every varying fruit or vegetable, just place them in reused produce bags or bring a grocery bag and let the cashier ring them up separately.

Miscellaneous

For more crafty and random uses for grocery bags, check out this miscellaneous list.

  1. Shipping Material
    Grocery bags make good shipping materials that can be used to wrap fragile items and crumpled up to be used as cushion, like packing peanuts.
  2. Paint Brush Storage
    Wrap a grocery bag around a roller or the bristles of your paint brush to keep it from getting dried out when you want to return to the paint job later.
  3. Line Paint Trays
    Paint trays can be lined with grocery bags to keep the tray from being painted 10 different colors and make cleanup a breeze.
  4. Textbook Covers
    Make a protective textbook cover out of a grocery bag that can be stretched as is, or cut and taped for a more fitted look.
  5. Mail Bags
    Grocery bags can be used to collect your neighbor’s mail when they’re out of town, or separate your bills from recyclable junk mail.
  6. Toy Parachute
    Grocery bags can be attached to toys and dolls to be used as homemade parachutes.
  7. Collectibles Bag
    Store collectibles and fragile items in grocery bags to keep them cushioned and organized.
  8. Kites
    With a few materials, grocery bags can be transformed into cool homemade kites that everyone can enjoy.
  9. Jewelry
    Turn grocery bags into hip jewelry by twisting or braiding small strips or prepared yarn into a bracelet, necklace or ring.
  10. Plastic Yarn
    Grocery bags can be turned into pliable yarn for knitting or crocheting reusable shopping bags, rugs, jewelry and tons of other items.

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