There is no denying that plastic bags are convenient. Unfortunately, a majority of them have a single-use nature, which adds to the overall pollution caused by the prevalence of single-use plastics across the world.
If you want to help save the environment, there’s still hope. You can give them new life by collecting them after you shop prolong their usefulness through recycling.
Here are 23 incredibly useful ways to recycle plastic bags:
1. Reuse Plastic Bags While Traveling
If you’re going on a trip, bring along some of your still-usable plastic bags. They’re versatile and easy to adapt to all sorts of needs while you’re on the go. Here are some things you can use recycled plastic bags as:
· Trash Bin
When you’re eating snacks on a road trip, it’s easy to lose wrappers and packaging in the car as they scatter under the seats. This will attract bugs later on. Instead of putting trash aside to throw later, put them all into a single plastic bag. The bag fits easily into a glove compartment or hangs easily on a hook and will keep the mess contained.
· Laundry Bags
Plastic bags can serve as quick and easy bags to hold dirty clothes, wet swimsuits, and similar items. That way, your fresh clothes won’t get soiled, and you won’t have to deal with any odor for the time being. Given the fact that research shows bed bugs are attracted to dirty laundry, sealing away items that need to be washed can keep you from bringing these pesky creatures back as a souvenir from your trip.
· Detergent Packs
If you’re traveling for a longer amount of time, you may have to do some laundry while you’re out. Having to lug detergent along with you can be a pain, so use small plastic bags to pre-measure individual detergent load amounts.
· Motion Sickness Relief
If you or anyone in your traveling party have issues with motion sickness, you can use a plastic bag – but not for the reason you might be thinking! Put some cotton balls in the bottom of the bag and add a couple of lavender oil drops. When someone starts getting carsick, pass them the bag, and have them breathe in the scent of the oil to feel better. The oil will relax the person in question and leave them feeling a little more positive.
· Keeping Things Dry
Suppose you’ll be heading out to the water and don’t want to leave your valuables behind on the shore. Put items such as your phone, keys, or wallet into a plastic bag. Blow air into the bag to inflate it, and it’ll be able to float easily next to you, keeping the items inside it nice and dry.
2. For Packing Or Moving
Packing up, especially to move house, can be an arduous task. A surprisingly indispensable part of that process can be all the leftover plastic bags you have unwittingly collected in your home. Here’s how they can be used!
· Packing Material
Many people make use of packing material to keep their belongings safe when moving, especially for more fragile possessions. Plastic bags can do this job well. Stuff the spaces between items with plastic bags to prevent excessive movement.
· Protecting Fragile Items
If you have something priceless that you need to transport for any reason, and it happens to be fragile, consider using plastic bags to protect it. You can place it inside a plastic bag, blow to inflate the pack slightly, tie it up tightly, and then wrap it around with more plastic bags to give it a nice sealed cushion.
· For Garage Sales
Need to declutter? Hosting a yard sale is a common way to get rid of extra items, especially before you move. Let customers at your garage sale cart away their items in plastic bags to encourage more purchasing and make things more convenient for them.
3. Food and Kitchen Uses
The effortlessly adaptable nature of a plastic bag makes it very easy to use in the kitchen and for food-related purposes. Here are some ways to get the most out of them in the kitchen:
· Cake Decoration
Not a fan of pastry bags? They can be quite hard to clean and aren’t cheap. For a simple alternative, place frosting or icing into a plastic bag, squeeze out the air, and twist the top to close it up. Your icing tool should now be in the shape of a cone. Cut off the end of the bag, at the very tip of the funnel, and squeeze the icing or frosting onto your cake as desired.
· Oil Disposal
Many people pour their used cooking oil down the drain, but as that oil dries, it creates greasy fat that is less than positive for drainage systems and a real inconvenience for plumbers when they do need to fix clogging caused by oil residue buildup. Instead, let the oil cool, then pour it into a plastic bag. Seal the bag and throw it out with the rest of your trash, and your drains will thank you.
· Dough Coloring
Mixing in food coloring properly can be difficult when you’re trying to evenly coat dough. Instead of getting your hands stained all the colors of the rainbow, try using a plastic bag to work the coloring in. Simply place the dough into a bag, add your food coloring, and knead the mixture through the bag until you’re happy with its appearance.
· Pan Greasing
Tired of getting your hands slippery after you use butter to grease a pan? Pick up your shortening or butter with a plastic bag and use that to hold it as you rub it away.
· Chocolate Melting
There’s nothing wrong with using a bain-marie or a bowl in the microwave to melt chocolate, but you can also use a plastic bag. Get some warm water in a pan, making sure not to boil the water. Place chocolate into a plastic bag, preferably one you can seal or very tightly close, then put the bag into the warm water pan. Leave to melt, then seal the bag off like you do to decorate cakes, and you have a convenient way to soften and pipe chocolate all in one go.
· Storage For Grated Cheese
Instead of busting out the grater every single time you want some cheese, grate the whole block in one batch. Then, store the rest of the cheese in a plastic bag and seal it shut. This way, you can quickly get grated cheese whenever you want.
· Marshmallow Softening
If your marshmallows have hardened after storage, you can soften them again with this easy trick. Place marshmallows into a plastic bag, preferably one you can seal or very tightly close. In a pan, warm up some water – not too hot! – and then place the plastic bag of marshmallows inside. The warmth in the enclosed space will warm up the marshmallows, softening them up for consumption.
4. For Pets or Animals
Have pets? Just love animals? The plastic bags you have may be useful to them in surprising ways! Here how you can use your recycled plastic bags for the animals around you:
· Cleaning Up After A Dog
When walking your dog, likely, he or she will occasionally stop along their route to “do their business.” As a responsible pet owner, you have to clean up after them. Bring along some small plastic bags to pick their waste up with, then turn the bag inside out to keep the debris inside without ever dirtying your hands.
· Feeding Birds
Have birds that scavenge for food during the colder months? Mix peanut butter and birdseed in a plastic bag, preferably a sealable one. Mix the contents well inside the bag. Finally, place the resulting food mixture onto a pinecone or a net bag. The birds will love this easy treat!
· A Makeshift Water Dish
If you go out for a hike with your furry friend, consider using a sealable plastic bag as a portable water dish if you don’t have one of your own. Fill the bag with water and hold it open for your pup so they can have a nice drink.
5. Cleanliness Uses
It’s not easy to notice the many cleanliness-related uses that plastic bags can perform. The possibilities are nearly endless. Here are some of our favorite ways to used recycled plastic bags to keep things clean:
· Trash Can Liners
Throwing trash directly into a trash can means you have to clean that bin regularly to get rid of leftover gunk, especially from wet waste. Instead of buying specialized trash bags, just recycle plastic bags you already have. Place the plastic bag into a trash bin to line the sides, then simply tie the bag and throw it out once it’s full.
· Hand Cleaners For Sand
Sand gets everywhere quickly. If you’re at the beach and need to clean off the grit before digging into a sandwich, you’ll want to have baby powder in a sealed plastic bag. Place your hands into the baby powder, then shake them and rub them outside to get rid of any lingering sand granules.
· Throwing Dirty Diapers
To make sure soiled diapers don’t unfurl or reveal themselves in a trash bin, first put them into a plastic bag and tie it up tightly. This keeps the odor locked in and allows you to easily dispose of them or bring them outside to take them out directly. You can also do this for similar products, like sanitary pads.
· Baby Wipes
Thrifty parents have found ways to save money by making effective substitutes for baby wipes that make use of recycled plastic bags. Start by putting paper towels in a sealable bag. Make sure the paper towels are soft. Add in a mix of one teaspoon of baby oil, a third of a cup of water, and one tablespoon of antibacterial soap of a gentle variety. Use the mixture to dampen – not completely soak – the paper towels, then use them to clean up your little one.
· Stay Clean And Cool Outdoors
If you’re out on a walk or to exercise on a warm or hot day, this trick can keep you feeling fresh. Soak a washcloth in a mix of lemon juice and water, then place it in a sealable plastic bag. Whenever you need it while you’re out, simply use it to wipe yourself down. You can also freeze washcloths instead to bring along in a plastic bag to give yourself some cold relief on the road.
Recycling plastic bags is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint in the world. With some thoughtfulness and positive thinking, you will slowly be able to lessen your reliance on these bags as time goes on!