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Declutter & Recycle Plastic Grocery Bags: 15 Minute Mission

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Today's mission is to declutter and recycle plastic grocery bags, as well as winnow it down to a more reasonable amount of paper bags if you have too many.

Most likely though your biggest problem is too many of those pesky plastic bags that you get at almost every store, including the grocery.

It is very easy to gather way more of these bags than we can ever use, and they can easily accumulate in your home.

#Declutter365 mission for your kitchen, to #declutter (and recycle) excess plastic grocery bags, keeping a more reasonable number {on Home Storage Solutions 101} #declutteringuse this Pin it button to save to Pinterest
It is also very easy, when unpacking your groceries or other shopping items, to just keep shoving more and more of these bags into the area you've designated for them. But if you don't then make an effort to reuse them, or if you get more than you can reuse, they can just multiply!

That's what happened to a reader, LeeAnne, who shared the top picture in the collage on the right with me. She said, "Mine are slopped up under the kitchen sink. Don't be jealous."

Now, ideally, you'll also eventually begin to transition to use less of these plastic bags and instead to more often use reusable shopping bags (although you can accumulate too many of these as well, and if you do here's the article for how to declutter reusable shopping bags).

But I'm not telling you today to get rid of every single one of the plastic bags you currently have in your home.

After all, there are lots of uses around your home for these little bags, and you might as well have some of them for use as needed.

I just think you should most likely have less then you currently do, especially if you continue bringing them in each week when you go to the store. You're obviously not reusing them as quickly as they're accumulating if you have a huge amount.

In addition, I want to make it very clear that when I say you should declutter these excess plastic bags you've got floating around in your home that I don't mean you should throw them in the trash.

Often it is quite easy to recycle plastic bags, so there really is no reason to fill a landfill with them.

Below I've shared my extremely simple tip for recycling plastic bags without much effort on your part, at all!

Top photo is courtesy of Dan4th Nicholas, and bottom image in collage courtesy of a reader, Gayle

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Look At The Results When Readers Did This Mission!

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I thought this saying above was funny, but the reason is that it's often true! We keep shoving more plastic bags into more plastic bags.

But these readers have already done this mission, and look at all the bags that are leaving their house!

This photo below is from a reader, Sherry, who said: "I finally got rid of those grocery bags! They took up my passenger seat!! I only use 4 reusable bags now each trip."

Plastic grocery bags headed to be recycled after Sherry decluttered them from her house {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}

In addition, here's another photo from Ellen, who said, "I got rid of this many plastic and paper bags from one cupboard, and kept only five of each kind. My sister said it was like clowns from a clown car."

Plastic grocery bags decluttered from kitchen cabinets {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}

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Where & How To Recycle Plastic Bags

So I mentioned above that it is easy to recycle plastic bags, and it really is. And because it is so easy, and because these bags do not readily biodegrade and would be in a landfill almost indefinitely it is important when decluttering to recycle them, instead of just trashing them.

plastic bags ready to be recycled
The picture on the left shows a large amount of plastic bags, and plastic film wrap (which is similar) that is ready to be recycled.

Generally these bags are either a #2 or #4 plastic, which is recyclable.

Often the easiest place to drop them off for recycling is at the store you actually received these bags from, such as Target (where I took the picture above) and Walmart.

Typically these drop off locations are close to the front of the store, and they will take plastic bags from their own store and from competitors.

So all you really need to do to get these out of your home is gather them up, typically just stuffing a bunch of the bags inside one of the bags itself, and then put it in your car trunk. Next time you're at the store just drop them off as you go into the store. Easy peasy!

If you have other places that you recycle these bags tell me where you do it in the comments, for even more ideas for everyone.

Want To Do More Decluttering Missions? Get Started With Declutter 365 Today!

Declutter 365 missions: 15 minute missions for your entire home

Once you declutter one type of item in your home I bet you'll want to declutter some more. After all, decluttering gives you a great reward for even a small investment of time and energy.

The Declutter 365 system is designed to help you declutter, over the course of a year, your entire house, with just 15 minutes of decluttering each day!

Hundreds of thousands of people use this proven system to get rid of their clutter, and bring peace and calm back to their homes.

Declutter 365 works to guide you to clear the clutter without overwhelm, focusing on just one small area at a time, and without making a huge mess in the process, so you see consistent forward progress without all that "messy middle" that makes it even harder to function in your home than before you started.

In addition to building a daily decluttering habit, the Declutter 365 program, along with the accompanying 52 Week Organized Home Challenge, teaches you the skills, habits, routines, and mindsets necessary to maintain the clutter free and organized state of your home from now on, so it'll never be as messy and cluttered as it is right now, ever again.

If you haven't already, make sure to get your copy of this year's Declutter 365 annual calendar here (it's FREE!), find today's date, and do 15 minutes of decluttering on the day's mission. Then, repeat again tomorrow, and again and again. Over the course of the next year, if you do this 15 minutes per day, you'll declutter your whole house!

Click here to take me to this year's Declutter 365 calendar

Get This Kitchen Decluttering Checklist + 32 Other Decluttering Checklists For Your Home

Right now you're decluttering your kitchen, and there's a lot of stuff to declutter in this space.

Get your 2 page kitchen decluttering checklist, plus 32 other decluttering checklists, to help you declutter your entire home here.

Get this kitchen decluttering checklist and 32 other decluttering checklists for your home {on Home Storage Solutions 101}

I've done the hard work of breaking down these tasks into smaller more manageable steps for you, so you don't get overwhelmed or worry you're forgetting a task, and you can go at the pace you want, whether that's fast or slow.

In addition, you can tackle these decluttering tasks in whatever order you want when you use these checklists!

Click here to learn more about 33 Decluttering Checklists Pack

Plus, if you do choose to keep some of your plastic bags to reuse in some way, here are ways to make your own plastic bag holder using containers you probably already have in your home right now!

DIY plastic bag holder ideas

In addition, here's ideas for repurposing grocery and shopping bags around your home:

11 uses for plastic bags around your home

How to #declutter and #recycle plastic grocery bags, including pictures from readers who've already done this #Declutter365 mission {on Home Storage Solutions 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

Second picture courtesy of EvelynGiggles

Related Pages You May Enjoy

Getting Rid Of Kitchen Clutter Hall Of Fame

Go From Declutter & Recycle Plastic Grocery Bags Mission To Home Page

Comments for Where & How To Recycle Plastic Bags

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crocheting with plastic bags
by: Pedie

Several years ago my mother was making plastic carrying bags from the colored plastic wrappers the newspaper was delivered in. Cut into 2" strips and crochet with a size H hook. Each time another strip was needed, a granny knot held it tight. Why not crochet a pad to place under a vase of flowers or a custom seat cover for those plastic chairs.

I reuse them until they are torn or dirty
by: Bev

I use every bag I bring home - paper or plastic. Paper collects all my recycles -our state recycles almost everything. Paper stands up easy and so it collects the recycles. I love the plastic bags. I use them in all my wastepaper baskets (8-9)I don't buy the smaller garbage bags, only the large one and on garbage day (every other week), all the plastic bags are collected and new ones put in. Another use is that I use them to store freezer items like bread and fresh bagels. I use 3 tightly wrapped around item and then easily write on the bag what is inside. The items inside may also be in a special freezer bag. I use a chest freezer so this works for me. I like to reuse and do until they are torn or dirty.

recycle plastic bags? NOT
by: kaytee

My sons, who work(ed) at retail stores with "recycle" bins for plastic bags, say that they are NOT recycled. Three different stores... one of their "tasks" was to empty the plastic bag recycle bin into the dumpster. Also, "leftover" seasonal and other greeting cards/wrapping paper, etc. and last-day of sale foods went in the dumpster-- even though there are groups who would be more than happy to pick up that "last day" food for various charity programs.

Plastic bags for pet beds
by: critter sitter

I throw those plastic bags into a zippered pillow case to make a cozy, padded bed for the cats and dogs. The bed doesn't absorb pet odors and gets re-fluffed every time the pillow case is washed.

more to recycle at the grocery store!
by: Jamie

I also save the grocery bags, but there's more we can add! Anything cellophane or thin plastic can go in the same bin. We recycle: plastic shopping bags from the mall, bread bags, the netting from an oranges, (cut off the metal band), frozen veggies bags (clean and dry the bags), zip bags, the thin plastic ring around the relish jars, etc. It doesn't seem like a lot, but in a week, we can fill a grocery bag with all the other cellophane/bags we can find, and none will go into the landfill!

Turn plastic shopping bags into.... plarn!
by: Debbie

Plarn! It's plastic yarn. One crocheted reusable tote bag uses up a hundred (or so) plastic shopping bags, is quite attractive and very strong!

I put mine under the kitchen sink too!
by: Linda

I always thought that I'm the only person who shoves plastic bags under the sink! Every time I open the cupboard door under the sink, I feel so embarrassed about the clutter! Now I have the courage to tackle my own mess and discard all those plastic bags!

doggie clean ups
by: Sue

I carry them for quick clean ups when I walk my dog. My city doesn't put out 'poop' bags on the trails any longer but I can fill their dispenser with my extra plastic bags. The city does still proved trash cans so we all win!

thrift stores like getting these bags
by: Jane

Many of the local thrift stores are glad to have these bags. It keeps their costs down and you get to do a good deed.

There are of course lots of things you can make with plastic bags. Just go to Pinterest, type in recycle plastic bags, and you will be inundated.

You can also re use them yourself. Put a few in your car instead of under your sink and then try to remember to take them in to the grocery store or clothing store with you and fill them up instead of paying for more to clutter your house.

Haven't had this kind of clutter in 20+ years
by: Christina

... since I lived in Germany in the 90s, when we had to PAY to buy bags at the grocery store. Paper bags cost about 10 cents, and plastic bags cost 50 cents. But a sturdy reusable cloth (washable) bag cost $1. So I have not used plastic bags since then, because I bought a bunch of fabric bags and have been using them for over 20 years.

It is very easy to kick the plastic bag clutter to the curb for good, if you just change to the habit of using cloth bags, and after just a month or two of using washable cloth bags, you won't miss the plastic bags at all. I never have a need for plastic bags and have never missed them.

give them to your local food pantry
by: Pat

Food pantry's are always in need of plastic grocery bags and often have shortages.

I reuse them, including for dirty smelly diapers
by: Amy

I normally use reusable canvas bags, but I do purposely not bring them about once a month. I use the plastic grocery bags for the small trash cans in my bathrooms, cleaning out the car, and for smelly diapers. I can't seem to keep enough these days. All get used for things like that. When we are no longer in diapers, I won't need to get as many, but that's a long way away...

line small trash cans with them
by: Heather

I also use recyclable cloth bags, have several that roll up like socks and you can pop them into your purse. I also make my own from used t-shirts (cut off sleeves and neckline). But I never seem to have enough with me especially when grocery shopping. So I end up paying for plastic. I use these to line small trash cans around the house (drop a couple in the bottom of the bin replace when you take out the full one). Years ago we used brown paper. They were so much stronger.

saving space by folding my bags into triangles
by: sharon

I fold my plastic grocery bags into triangles like we made as kids and keep them in a canister. I can carry a couple in my purse, takes up hardly any space. Directions can be found on Pinterest. But I do like the crocheting into mats for the homeless idea. Sounds great!

I never seem to have enough!
by: Lee

With a cat in the house who is very fussy about her litter I use these every day to hold scooped out poop. Double bagged.

Library - place to donate
by: Cheryl Mayers

I take plastic bags to the library, they are always welcomed.

lots of ideas for how to reuse them
by: Anonymous

Use them as garbage bags.

When sorting out summer and winter clothes, hats and scarves, swim wear etc.

When packing to go away, put shoes in them to keep the clothes clean.

When doing house work carry a bag around to pick up the bits and pieces.

Keep your dusters and polish all together.

If you have a toxic spray after use put in a bag for the next time you us it for extra safety from children or spillage.

waterproof barriers
by: Gigi

My mom's senior center has a group of ladies who cut the bags into strips and "crochet" them into waterproof pads to be given to the homeless who use them to provide a barrier between the ground and their blankets.

line trash cans and for kitty litter
by: Kim M

I use them as small bags to line the trash cans in the bathroom and kids room. I also use them when I empty the kitty litter so I don't have to bring the large trash bag down to the basement.

Libraries and day cares! - places to donate
by: Anonymous

I'm a librarian and we use donated plastic bags as carry bags for our patrons books and DVD's especially when it's raining. Also some day cares use them to send home soiled clothes or other items. Easy to write the child's name on with a permanent marker.

Plastic bag holder
by: Carol

I put my bags into a tissue box in the closet. This keeps them very compact and when the box gets too full return them to the store you shop at most often.

Use cloth/canvas bags, and when container for plastic ones overflow, time to return some to store
by: Elaine

I try to remember to use my cloth/canvas bags, but if I forget or need a few I either take them back to the store's recycle bin or I use them when cleaning the cat's litter box.

When keeping them under the sink I use a basket the size of a wastebasket to keep them in. If it overflows I know it's time to take them back to store. And under the sink looks good too with the basket.

donate to food pantries
by: Anonymous

Food pantries are grateful for donated grocery bags of any kind for packing clients' food.

2nd life for plastic bags
by: Ms M

I use the extra plastic bags on my dog walk to poop and scoop.

I also take the extra plastic bags to the dog park! There are many dog owners who forget to bring bags. So I hang a bag full of bags by the garbage bin, or a fence near the entrance.

Used at the dog park
by: Mary (ohansunta)

Eugene Oregon does not allow stores to hand out plastic bags. So the few I get I take to the dog park. They are always needed there.

Recycling an item to keep things tidy & organized
by: Anonymous

I always get those pesky plastic bags when we shop at grocery stores. What we have been doing is, you know those pesky cardboard paper towel cores you get after you have used up the paper towel? Well, a dear friend of mine gave me the idea to put those plastic bags in them, and just pull out and use them when we do trash run around the house, or when needing them for something else. However, I like your idea better about returning them to the stores and letting them recycle them. That way, it keeps them out of our landfills.

I do have a question though. How do we know that these plastic bags that are getting recycled, by these stores, are being sanitized, so they are clean for the next person, whose groceries go in those bags? Do these stores have a way of sanitizing them, so our groceries aren't being saturated in some kind of muck. I apologize if my question seems negative. I just know that there are others wondering the same thing. Especially, those that are germaphobes, like me, because they have health issues, and their immune system may be compromised.

I know that there are some disposal companies out there, but I can't find one that takes those pesky plastic grocery bags. They have a disclosure of what plastics they will or will not accept, and the plastic grocery bags is one of them on their list that they will not accept. Also, something about waxed plastic. Not sure of what that entails, but it those pesky plastic grocery bags seem to be made out of some waxy substance.

I'm so glad that I'm seeing information about recycling to declutter your home, because I am definitely a Recycleaholic (not sure if there is even a name such as that, but that is definitely a vise of mine.)

response re question about cleaning of the bags
by: Taylor

This is a response to the question of whether we know the stores are cleaning the bags before reuse. The answer is, I think you've misunderstood what I meant by recycle. The stores are not reusing the bags at their store, they are literally collecting them to be taken to a facility for recycling, so they are not used again in the same manner as before. Hope that helps explain that!

donate to library and use when walking dog
by: Anonymous

I donate some to local library as they use them at checkout. I'm a considerate dog walker and always have a bag or two in pocket. Recycle the rest at store.

knit or crochet into waterproof mats
by: Stacy

For those who camp the plastic bags can be cut into strips and knit or crocheted together to create a plastic barrier between the sleeping bag and the floor/ground. The completed mat can also be donated to a homeless shelter for those who are homeless to use as a moisture barrier between the ground and what they are sleeping on/under.

by: Patty Counts

I use those little bags that our newspaper comes in (one a day!) when I take my dogs for a walk. Just put your hand inside, pick up poop, then pull from elbow down over hand and poop. Then throwing away does not hurt so bad and neighbors really appreciate it!

for scooped kittle litter
by: Lynn

We use the plastic bags to scoop used kitty litter into. The others get returned to the grocery store in the recycle bin.

found good use fore plastic bags
by: Anonymous

I reuse them to line trash cans. But I've also used a lot of them in the past 6 months to stuff sheep and other things that I was making for stage props. I like to use them to stuff things like that because I don't have to buy poly fill.

Use of plastic bags when packing suitcase
by: Janet

I travel for work and keep a bunch of larger plastic bags to layer among my clothes - reduces wrinkles

Use to clean out kitty litter box
by: Connie

We use when we clean out our kitty litter box. We donate the overflow bags to our church who has a food pantry.

I use them for garbage and more
by: Jade Dragon

Our plastic bags are used for garbage bags. Each evening I take the one used that day, tie it up and it goes to the garage and into the garbage can until it is time for trash pick up (Mondays here). Then I put out a fresh one, ready for the next day. Into the bag goes coffee grounds and any and all other food trash as well as food cans and jars, used paper towels and whatever. By the end of the day it is time to tie it up and start off fresh again.

I have one store which will give me paper bags. Those I empty and refold and put in my donation box. They go to the local food pantry/and assistance store. They are usually delighted to get full size grocery bags for their food pantry.

plastic bag roll
by: Anonymous

I reuse the plastic bags, but found a way to keep them neater. I fold them in half and roll them onto one roll. Pull out from the center, put an elastic band around the outside. It works for me!

leave them at ALDI'S or RULER FOODS
by: Anonymous

Leave them at one of the grocery stores that require you to pay for plastic bags, such as ALDIS or RULER FOODS. Not sure if many have those kind of stores, but we do in KY.

Packing material
by: Anonymous

I use the plastic bags as packing material when I need to send a package.

give to a food bank
by: Edie

I volunteer at a food bank. We could always use more plastic bags to make up emergency hampers etc.

another vote for the food bank
by: Peggy R.

I donate mine to the local food bank. The thrift shop gets the paper bags.

stuffing them in handbags
by: Anonymous

I use them also to stuff my handbags so they keep their shape during storage.

Brown paper bags
by: Anonymous

What can I do with brown paper bags? I have a lot of them.
Thank you :-)

Ways to make plastic bags useful
by: Anonymous

Pass you bags on to people who cut and turn bags into mats for homeless!

Plastic bag crochet
by: Anonymous

In our area there are church groups who take the plastic bags to cut into 2" wide strips, then link the loops together to make crochet "yarn." They make mats out of them and give them away to people who are sleeping on the ground.

But it is true enough that nearly every major retailer that puts things in plastic bags for you to carry home takes the bags back.

Some years ago some of my relatives did a "cloth bag exchange" because we live in different parts of the country. I sent bags from my area to them, and they sent bags from their area to me. We have "Piggly Wiggly" stores here and that is a favorite bag to have so, of course, I shared plenty of those.

waste basket liners
by: Anonymous

I use some as waste basket liners, too. I put several in the bottom of the waste basket so that there's always one there when I take the one we are filling away.

For people who live in apartment buildings where there's a garbage chute they are often just the right size to slide down the chute but you have to make sure there is something heavy enough in them to carry them all the way to the dumpster.

One way I recycle plastic bags is in the freezer
by: Jeanette

Lots of hunters in our family. One way I recycle the plastic bags is to wrap the wild turkeys in approx 8. This puts them to use and I don't have to buy freezer bags to fit a whole turkey.

PLEASE make PLARN (Plastic Yarn) & crochet for Homeless!
by: NinaMOH

Plarn (plastic yarn) is so easy to make! Please you tube or google "plarn crochet sleeping mats for homeless". Plastic bags are cut into 2" rings and joined together. Then you wind that into balls of plarn. Mats are crocheted 3' x 6' My sister takes her finished mats to the Salvation Army to be given to the homeless. The plarn sleeping mats provide a layer for them, are lightweight, and can get wet. Thank you for recycling!

Crochet them into new bags
by: Anonymous

I take my plastic bags and crochet new bags with them.

I also use them to line the smaller bathroom trash cans, makes it easy for my kids to pull one bag out and tie a knot and drop it in the lager curbside bin.

I place extras, folded, in small baskets
by: Anonymous

Thanks for the reminder. I need to take ours into a recycle bin. For the ones I keep at home I found that smoothing them out and folding them is a lot neater. I got a small basket from dollar tree, and I put the folded ones in each bathroom. I use these as liners in the wastebaskets. I also have some in the kitchen for the under the sink wastebasket, which is rather small. It's a lot cheaper than paying for the liners.

Homeless Mat
by: Anonymous

I have a friend who ties the bags together and then weaves or knits out crochets (something crafty like that) them into a mat to give to the homeless to lie on. They are sturdy, light weight, padded by the plastic, and easy to clean. She also creates them into beach bags. Fascinating!

Where can I store my blue bags
by: Tina

Hi, I shop with my reusable bags, but occasionally get some plastic grocery bags because I use them for bathroom trash can liners and scooping the dog poop. Right now I just stuff them under the bathroom sinks for easy refills and on a shelf in the garage. The only problem is when my husband goes for these bags in the garage to do his duty, I find them all over the garage floor.

Any ideas?

Reuse ideas
by: Paula R.

As a Girl Scout Mom I used the bags during cookie booth sales. As a health care provider I used the bags to help separate and store supplies in my car (before trunk bins were provided). Also, one of my co-workers said she used them as shoe covers in muddy situations-nice when you don't want to get your car muddy or track mud into a patient's home.

I got rid of the unusable ones
by: Megan

I finally cleaned mine out. I reuse them for my lunches (I do have a reusable bag, but I use the plastic bags to line it to keep it clean) and for when I scoop out the cat litter (I usually reuse the lunch bags for this), so I can't go to reusable grocery bags only. But I did go through and pull out the unusable ones (anything with a hole - not good for poopy cat litter!) and took them to the grocery store to recycle. Now I have a much more manageable amount of bags that I keep in a tote in the kitchen.

taking many to the thrift store
by: Anonymous

I'm taking mine to Joseph's Storehouse (a thrift store). The cashier told me she never has enough. I will keep enough to use for the big garage sale I am going to have when I finish de-cluttering.

Thanks for the ideas!
by: Silvia

I want to thank everyone with their ideas for recycling plastic bags! I did not have any new ideas because I too reuse mine for certain things that have been mentioned. The one I really like is the one that uses them for making mats for the homeless. Unfortunately, I have just recycled all the bags I had a week ago, but in the future I would like to try crocheting these mats, all I need is a pattern! Someone mentioned checking out Pinterest, thanks for all the ideas I haven't thought of! Keep recycling!

pick up doggie waste
by: Barbara

I live in an apartment complex with specific grass dog areas with a bag holder. We place our plastic bags in the provided container to use them to pick up doggie waste!

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
by: Kitty

1. Litter waste to trash
2. Collect plastic bottles by tens to take to trunk with fabric shopping bags so they don't pile up in house before next shopping trip.
3. I actually pile 5-10 inside one another on small trash containers in house, so when you throw one away you don't have look for more. This helps me on weekly basis and keeps that big pile from growing.
4. I actually fold them flat so I can reuse the ones without holes at later time. They tuck easily inside an empty tissue box ;-).

Home delivered meals programs
by: Lea Parker

I work for a non profit, and I can echo the food pantries loving the bag donations! In addition, we operate a free clothing store that loves getting the bags for their clients, AND a home delivered meals program for seniors and disabled (Meals on Wheels) that requests plastic grocery bags to send things like milk and juice to their clients. Our clients will even save them up and send them BACK to the central kitchen to be reused again.

Diaper duty
by: Jackie

I make plarn as others have mentioned. I also save some for using them to place soiled diapers in the trash can at home and in the nursery at church. This helps keep the "smell" down.

Give to thrift shop
by: Liz

I recycle the plastic bags that have holes in them, but the good ones I donate to faith-based thrift shops in my area. They are happy to have them and they are reused there.

I don't want to pay for the bags
by: Anonymous

We have to pay for our bags in Scotland and I refuse to pay for them. I keep strong shopping bags in my car and reuse them every time. I am having to hunt for a bag to put in the bedroom and bathroom trash bins.

Publix has these containers
by: Arline

Publix grocery store in Florida has containers in front of their store for plastic bags, Styrofoam containers (egg cartons) and paper bags. So easy.

Another plastic bag idea
by: Maureen

I used plastic bags to stuff outdoor pillows that I made.

clean litter boxes
by: Paula

These bags have been outlawed in my state of California so we don't get them any more. I do use the bags when I clean four litter boxes several times a week. What I'll substitute when I run out my plastic bags isn't clear!

Give them to flea market vendors
by: Emm

I use plastic bags to line our small garbage cans as well as for lightweight packing material. However, we collect them throughout the year for our flea market business.

Not only do we use them for our customers, but if we see someone juggling several loose items, we'll offer them a bag as well. If I see a new vendor who is unprepared, I'll offer them a bagful of bags too.

We collect them by gathering them into an empty bag until it is full, then the full bag goes into a large garbage bag we keep hanging in our utility room. When the large bag is full, off to the flea market it goes.

I also keep several bags in the console of my car to use as garbage or diaper bags.

Reusing the bags into homeless mats
by: Narelle (Aust)

Hi Everyone, the patterns for the plarn homeless mats can also be found on youtube along with patterns to crochet bags. I have to actually get plastic bags as I use reusable bags all the time, it's a bit of an obession with me and I have so many that I have been asked if I would like to throw some away and my answer is no as they wear out and I need spares as back up.

Thrift stores
by: Anonymous

We have a thrift store in our small town. One day I was in there and a lady was sitting behind the checkout straightening out plastic bags so they wouldn't be all balled up taking up more room. Since then when I bring home plastic bags I straighten them out flat, put in a box and bring them to the thrift store next time I go. They appreciate it!

I store excess in tissue boxes
by: Mary S.

I stuff an empty kleen-x box with these plastic bags. When I need one, I just pull it out. It holds a lot of plastic bags. The best part is that it only takes up a small area. Any bags that don't fit in the box you don't need.

Sleeping Mats
by: Anonymous

I save them and give them to a friend who cuts them in strips and crochets them into sleeping mats. She then delivers them to a service that delivers them among the homeless

Ps for homeless
by: Brig

Like Gigi, we also have a group that uses them to make mats for the homeless. I use canvas bags. Even with those I collect so many from conferences that they want to take over my trunk. I keep my favorites and send the rest to a local mission. If I ever get paper bags, I use them to collect paper and then recycle bag and all at the post office.

crochet them
by: Anonymous

You might be able to find organizations who except the bags and crochet sleeping mats for the homeless people in your area.

ideas for reusing bags
by: DJ

I have used white and clear plastic bags (from dry cleaners) for years to pack extra dishes and glassware for holiday and entertainment occasions. They are lighter weight, work just as well as packing paper and I use Clear plastic bins, as they stack well in the attic space.

As for plastic bags with color, when the bin is full I would toss, but these times are rare as there is always something to bag up. Now, as suggested, I think I will take my unused bags to my Library as I have been on the receiving end of needing a bag for a book sale!

I always seem to run out
by: Karen

Since I use these plastic bags for trash as well as scooping the cat litter (twice each day), we go through a lot of them. I find myself running out frequently. Also, when we moved, we collected these bags from friends and family and used them as packing material. It worked great! We've also used them at church when our church has been the site of a mobile food pantry. It's easier to bag the items than just throw a bunch of stuff into someone's trunk.

Nagging problem fixed for free
by: Eliza

I have a family room chair cushion that is much squishier than the other chairs in the room. After reading the other comments it occurred to me that I could unzip the cushion and stuff the underside of it with extra clean plastic bags. Who would know but me? It was enough to firm the seat up when zipped and the problem is solved free of charge!

Bag Rollups
by: CindyW

I roll all of my plastic grocery bags into a small ball by holding on to the handle and twisting the bottom around two fingers. When I reach the top of the handle I fold it over to confine the bag. This takes up at least 1/10th of the space. I reuse my plastic bags to scoop cat litter. I've also found when moving they are great packing material to roll up cups and glasses in.

donate plastic bags to second hand store
by: Anonymous

I give mine to a second hand store. They are always looking for bags to use for purchases.

Animal shelters love them
by: Deborah

I keep my plastic grocery bags in one of those plastic toilet paper containers, until we need them to line our garbage containers with. When I have more than I will ever need, and it over flows, I take a large amount to a local cat shelter we have in the community. They are thankful for them for the MANY cat litter containers they clean everyday.

Tax on plastic bags
by: Erica

My county just started allowing stores (all stores) to charge $.05 for each bag used from a store. I was good about using re-usable bags, now I am GREAT. It's been a life changer, not being bogged down with so many plastic bags and now when I do get a few (usually my husband going to store without re-usable bags), they are used very well and purposefully.

Another "tax" sounds annoying, but I really think it's a great way to break this toxic plastic bag habit.

Use to dispose of old kitty litter
by: Anonymous

I use them, one at a time, to dispose of used kitty litter!

where I use my old bags

I recycle our plastic bags at local library, charities such as food pantries, and also thrift stores like Salvation Army. We have 2 charity thrift stores here in Idaho: St Vincent's and ID Youth Ranch.

Super easy one
by: Anonymous

Super easy to declutter plastic bags. I keep a reusable grocery bag full of plastic bags for hubby’s lunch and to use to line waste baskets. The rest get tied in a bag and taken t9 the local grocery store to recycle.

I use brown paper bags to hold my magazine and paper recycles. Extras are taken to the recycle center when I take the other stuff.

Dog Park!
by: Anonymous

I usually take mine to the dog park. They are always in need of bags so owners can pick up their fur babies messes.

used to make wreaths
by: Anonymous

When I was a Cub Scout den mother, I used plastic bags (grocery and garbage) along with wire hangers to make wreaths. I cut the bags into 1"x 2" strips. The scouts formed the wire hangers into circles and then we tied the plastic strips in knots to the hangers until they were full. We then glued glitter sequins and Christmas/Winter themed articles to the bags. We added ribbon bows to the finished wreaths. They were really cute. In fact, I still have one of the White ones that has had the winter themed articles removed and has Red and Blue [fake] Carnations on one side (Red, White and Blue theme) and it hangs on my front door at all times.

Storing & Drop Off of Plastic & Paper Bags
by: Maria in Delaware

I don't just stuff the bags inside another plastic bag. That takes up tons of room. I have this method (that I learned from my mother-in-law) where I twist the bag around 3 fingers then tuck in the "tail". I have a bunch of small twisted up bags inside another plastic bag. When they get to be too much I put a bunch in another plastic bag and drop them off at our local library. I drop off paper bags at our local farm.

Grocery pickup and return bags
by: Jo

I often do grocery pickup at Kroger. When I get home I stuff the bags into one and return to vehicle. Next pickup the Associate takes them back.

Crocheting with "plarn"
by: kaytee

SOME bags are made with plastics that are intended to break down when exposed to "environmental" conditions. If these are included in your projects, they will break down/apart. I have done water bottle slings and bags with plarn, and they have split where the degradable bag plastic was used.

These sorts of plastics are those made with cornstarch, as well as those which have chemical bonds that break apart when exposed to UV (sun).

reuse two things at once
by: Anonymous

I put the plastic bags in a produce bag (like from lemons, oranges, etc) and put them under the sinks in my home. It holds a lot and keeps them from running loose under the sink. We then use them as trash can liners.

California cut back on these
by: Anonymous

About a year ago they started charging 10 cents for each "reusable" plastic bag in California, especially in the grocery stores so I reuse them as often as possible. Some of the first so-called reusable type broke but this year they have improved them to last much longer. Some of the craft and clothing stores still give the thinner plastic bags and I use the smaller ones for chicken bone and cat litter box cleaning, and the larger ones for donations to the thrift store.

Fold for neat storage of them
by: Debra

I reuse the plastic bags to clean the litter boxes. However am short on storage so I actually fold my bags into small squares and they are neat and tidy in a drawer. I wish I had the option to post a picture because many have taken up to folding bags.

Plastic bag recycling station
by: Sarah P.

We have a recycling station for batteries/lightbulbs & plastic bags at our local Lowes Home Improvement store. Our town recently banned single use bags & straws so we each keep about 4-5 reusable ones in our car, & our plastic shopping bag collection in the house is almost gone!

Plastic vs. canvas
by: Mary

I was using canvas bags for groceries till I read how much these collect in bacteria and viruses since I never take the time to wash them. I use plastic now because it feels more sanitary and free of germs.

folding plastic bags
by: Sucie

I take my plastic bags and fold them into thirds lengthwise and start rolling them up when I get almost to the top (handles). I take the next bag and do the same by adding it into the previous bag and continue to roll until I get to the handles and so on. Pretty soon I have a big roll of plastic bags that I can put into one of my leftover Clorox popup wipes containers and put it in the car to have trash bags ready to take care of any need. I keep one in each bathroom to be able to put a bag in trash cans. This way I am not running all over the house trying to find a plastic bag. They are already there, organized and waiting for me. I will spend about 30 minutes rolling these bags while I watch a TV program. Helps to keep the clutter down.

Crochet Them
by: Jean

I decluttered many #2 plastic shopping bags by cutting them into strips and crocheting them into beautiful shopping bags that are durable and make nice gifts. Another idea is I've seen is to crochet them into beach mats.

Donate plastic bags
by: Margo

I donate my plastic bags to our local food shelter. They use them to provide food to families.

Plastic bag uses
by: Jane

I use large plastic bags to carry laundry, ready for the washer, to my basement. I also carry folded laundry back upstairs in the bags. They're a lot lighter than carrying a laundry basket!

I also make plarn, and crochet bags for shopping, mats for camping, and mats for the homeless. It's fun to make carrying bags using all white, gray or tan grocery bags, and I've even made bags from plastic bags that are white with red print, and made red handles. You can do the same with white bags with blue, black or green print on them.

Bags are also wonderful for stuffing inside large bows - like on Christmas or other wreaths. It keeps the bows full, and they look great, year after year.

To store bags, I put sometimes put them in a space bag and vacuum the air out. They take up much less room that way!!

More uses
by: Jane

I completely forgot about two other ways I use these bags! For a while, I made wreaths that were actually 3 fabric tubes, stuffed with grocery bags, and plaited into a circle. They were a big hit at craft fairs, but take a while to make, and need to be mounted on something sturdy to hold their shape. You don't have to worry about the "stuffing" getting wet, or getting moldy, since the plastic bags can take it. I usually spray the fabric with a water repellant, but hang my wreaths where it's warm, to dry out a while before storing them - especially if they've been on my door through rain and snow! I called them "Recycled Wreaths". Please don't use my idea for profit, as I'm starting production again for online sales soon!!

I've used bags for many of the things other people mentioned, too, but keeping them handy in the car is a favorite way. When heavy items break through a thin bag from the grocery store, I have "rescue" bags to help carry things inside.

what do they do with the recycled bags?
by: Kay

I've wondered what they REALLY do with those bins of plastic bags. I heard of one employee that says they put them in the dumpster because their town doesn't have recycling for that type of plastic. I know for sure our town doesn't but then, we don't have any of those stores either. Just wondering.

Recyle with small business or charity
by: Anonymous

We go through our bags - ones with holes go into recyle at the store. Ones without any holes are folded neatly and placed in another good plastic bags, tied together (so the bags don't go everywhere), and offered to businesses at the farmer's market, flea markets, food pantries, etc., where buying bags can be a large expense for someone on a tight budget.

We haven't had any of the businesses (that we patronize) refuse any of the bags (we usually remember to bring cloth bags for ourself).

It takes a little time and space until they're out of the house but less than if we did nothing with them and let them accumulate in our space. Very easy way to help declutter space.

Plastic grocery bags
by: farmerswife14770

Here in NY, the plastic grocery bags that we would use in the bathroom to line the wastebasket, or double them to share meat from our freezer with a neighbor, has been outlawed. NO store has plastic grocery bags anymore. It's either paper or bring your own. I usually bring my own (canvas) or save the Aldi paper bags to reuse. Sooo, if you're inundated with plastic grocery bags, check with someone in NYS and see if they have a need for them! There was someone who mentioned strips and crocheting them. I had a friend do that and turned them into WONDERFUL sturdy bags to reuse often.
Keep up the wonderful work, Taylor! You're my hero!

making rolls of these bags
by: Jan S

When I bring home items in these bags I separate the empty bags, those with holes or are wet/sticky go into each other for recycling and the others sit beside my chair until I have 5 minutes to handle them. I smooth each bag out flat, fold in thirds from side to side and then make a roll of them catching the beginning of the next bag as I roll the end of current. I put them in rolls of about 10 bags each. There is now a nice supply (1 roll) in the bottom of each bathroom trash can and as I pull the full bag, I fit the next empty one in the can. The excess bags, once rolled, are taken to my church to use in the food pantry for sending out food. Others in my church bring me bags stuffed with these bags and I fold them for the church. Rolling a stuffed bags of about 30 bags usually takes me about 10 minutes sitting in my chair while watching the news on TV.

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