A retired business owner, my passions are cooking, photography and eating. I use all three of these when I write for recipeyum.com.au which is on HubGarden
Published June 9th 2018
Learn to use up old plastic bags - make useful products
It is almost "Plastic Free July", where we will eliminate single-use plastic bags. Have any left over? If you do, here is a great list of things you can make with these bags so that they do not go in the rubbish and pollute the earth.
1. PLASTIC BAG FLOWERS For this one, you will need bags of different colours. I would not have a problem with this as I get green, blue, white and grey, so you are all set if you have these colours. Brighter colours are sometimes given when you shop for clothes.
This video will explain how to make these flowers, which you can use to decorate several things, including flower to place on a wrapped gift.
2. MAKE A ROPE or PLARN FOR YARN
Plastic yarn, or plarn for short, is made by cutting plastic grocery bags into strips. They are then strung together into a single long strand. Plarn is possibly the most used items that can make many different articles.
You need to prepare each bag to make a rope before starting, and below is a video to explain exactly how to make this very useful plarn. From this, you can make many other things. You can use plarn instead of regular yarn to crochet reusable tote bags, purses, doormats and more.
Once you have made your yarn, you can actually knit it into other things or tie presents with it!
3. PLASTIC BAG BACKPACK You can use a plastic bag to make a simple backpack to carry a few things in. These are particularly good when it is raining! You can see how to make them at this link.
4. STUFFING FOR A PILLOW Plastic bags are great as a stuffing for an outside pillow in particular, as the stuffing will not rot if it gets wet. These are very simple to make - you just substitute plastic for other material in a pillow! It is a good idea to also use a few old tea towels in with the plastic bags.
Spread each stuffing bag out and then loosely roll it, then place them in a bag. This bag can be the thicker type of plastic bags, but best to use thin ones for the stuffing. Try to keep them lined up so, the outer bag will stay as smooth as possible. If you just bunch them into the bag, the pillow will look lumpy.
5. TOTE BAG Make a bag by ironing the plastic bags very lightly to fuse them together and then make a one-of-a-kind bag! You can even make a bag out of old potting mix bags - simply wash them thoroughly, cut the tops and sew them on to make handles - these will be extra strong.
You can use your plarn for bags and here is a link to several free knitting pattern designs of plarn bags.
6. USE INSIDE SHOES WHEN STORING
If you store away your seasonal shoes, using plastic bags is a great way to get the shoes to keep their shape. You can re-use these over and over, each season.
7. STUFFING FOR CHILDREN'S TOYS
Instead of using a commercial filling when making children's toys, put many plastic bags inside - they will be virtually indestructible, as plastic bags are tough when used this way.
8. WRAP BREAKABLES WHILST MOVING
Instead of buying bubble wrap, which is using more plastic, use up your plastic bags by wrapping your kitchen and breakables when moving house.
9. PACK BREAKABLE PARCELS FOR POSTING
Have you ever posted a parcel and wondered how to pack it so it will not break? Use heaps of plastic bags and your glassware and other breakables will be safe in the post.
10. MAKE A SKIPPING ROPE
This is once again made out of plarn, and can be knitted or crocheted.
Or get a bundle of plastic bags and cut each one open so it becomes one flat piece. Then chop off the handles of each bag and any extra pieces, leaving one large rectangle of plastic. You will need to make between about 10 to 15 of these rectangles.
Each rectangle then gets cut into long strips and after cutting several bags of strips, tie the strips together.
11. MAKE A BASKET
You can make a basket by weaving the plastic pieces or plarn together to form different shaped baskets. This is a great idea and very useful, especially if you only have dull colours of plastic bags.
13. LAYER IN GARDEN TO STOP WEEDS
Put several layers of plastic in garden beds to stop weeds growing. You will need to dig them in quite deep so that the plant roots have room to grow.
14. COVER CLOTHES IN CLOSET
If you want to stop dust gathering on the tops of your clothes when hanging in the cupboard, simple fit a few plastic bags over them. These bags can then be used over and over again.
15. PAINT YOUR WALLS WITH TEXTURE
This gives a very unusual effect! This is fascinating and will give your walls a very uneven and unusual finish! Dare to be different!
16. PLASTIC BAG BRACELETS
Make colourful bracelets and bangles for a summer accessory. Using recycled plastic bags and basic supplies you already have around the house. See how to make these at this link.
17. MAKE A MATT FOR THE HOMELESS
This is a really useful item you can make with your old plastic bags and know that it will go to a good cause.
18. MAKE A SHOPPING BAG
Once again, you need to make your plarn before you can make a shopping bag. Once you have this, you can crochet to whatever shape you wish, or you can use a knitting pattern.