Recycling Around the House: Uses for Plastic Grocery Bags

If you’re like most people, you have a stash of plastic grocery bags underneath your kitchen sink. It feels wasteful to throw them away, but what can you do with the growing heap of plastic? Actually, there are a lot of uses for plastic grocery bags. I stash them everywhere. I keep plastic grocery bags in the cabinet underneath each sink of the house, inside my car and inside my travel bags. It’s a good idea to keep some extra plastic grocery bags in your office as well. Plastic grocery bags come in handy for a number of things.

1. Trash Bags

Most people use plastic grocery bags as trashcan liners inside their home. However, go a step further and place plastic grocery bags in the side pockets of car doors and seat backs. There will be no excuse for empty McDonalds wrappers or empty coffee cups on the floor of your vehicle again. Keep some plastic grocery bags in your luggage. Use them as extra trashcan liners during your stay at a hotel. The small wastebaskets inside hotel rooms fill up quickly.

2. Sink Liner

When peeling vegetables, husking corn or cutting fruit like pineapple or watermelon, place a plastic grocery bag in the sink. After you are through prepping your fruits and vegetables, lift the plastic grocery bag by its corners, and deposit the peels, husks and rinds with no mess into your trashcan or compost pile.

3. Paint Tray Liner

Instead of buying a plastic liner for your paint tray, insert the paint tray into a plastic grocery bag. Use an oversized plastic grocery bag and tie a knot with its handles, or cover the paint tray with a plastic grocery bag on each end of the tray. Once you’re through painting, pull the plastic grocery bag inside out by its handles, and throw it away with little or no mess.

4. Shoe Covers

When packing for a trip, place shoes inside plastic grocery bags to prevent your dirty shoes from soiling your clothes.

5. Dirty Laundry Bag

Keep plastic grocery bags inside your suitcase and travel bags. You can store dirty laundry in the plastic grocery bags during your stay at a hotel.

6. Gloves

Use plastic grocery bags as gloves to retrieve irreplaceable items that fall into the toilet. This happens more often than you would think. This can happen in hotels where items are stored on top of the sink counter extending above the toilet seat.

7. Umbrella Holder

Use a plastic grocery bag to hold your wet umbrella when you shop. A puddle caused by a dripping umbrella can cause someone to slip. If you stick your umbrella in a shopping bag filled with new clothes or on the floor or seat of your car, nothing will get wet if you have the umbrella inside of a plastic grocery bag.

8. A Pick It Up Bag

Tie a plastic grocery bag to the handle of your vacuum cleaner. When you vacuum and come across a paper clip, Lego or whatever else you don’t want to vacuum, pick it up, and put it inside the plastic grocery bag.

9. Peanuts and Protection

Instead of using Stryrofoam peanuts or bubble wrap, stuff packages with plastic grocery bags. You can also wrap fragile items such as plates and ornaments in storage or transit with plastic grocery bags.

10. Plunger Cover

It’s unsanitary to use the same plunger for your toilet as your sink and tub, but what if you haven’t bought a second plunger? What if you can’t remember which one goes where? In either case, tie a plastic grocery bag around the suction cup of the plunger and unclog the tub or sink drain minus the icky feeling.

11. Rain Hat

In case of a sudden rain shower, create a rain hat easily with a plastic grocery bag. Cut one long side of a plastic grocery bag down to its corner starting at one of its handles. Place the bag over your head, and tie the ends of the cut handle underneath your chin. Voila! You have an instant waterproof bonnet.

12. Leak Prevention in the Refrigerator

Double bag your poultry, meats and fish in the refrigerator with plastic grocery bags. This prevents annoying leaks and clean up from these items defrosting.

13. Grocery Bag

Reuse your plastic grocery bags as a grocery bag. What else? Aldi, a grocery store, encourages its buyers to bring their own grocery bags or else you can buy it from them. Either way, you know what to do with those extra grocery bags once you get home!

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