23 Genius Ways to Repurpose Plastic Bags

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    Why Repurpose Plastic?

    Speaking for Mother Earth, plastic is a problem. It most often ends up polluting landfills, where it can take up to 400 years to break down, or contaminating our planet’s marine ecosystems. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, between 4.8 and 12.7 million metric tons of plastic waste entered the global marine environment in 2010. Those plastic particles end up contaminating animals, allowing it to work its way up the food chain where it can eventually poison the humans that eat it.

    Let’s work to keep plastic out of landfills and the environment. It may be easier than you think to reduce your personal plastic waste. Here are a few simple and budget-friendly ways to repurpose plastic bags.

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    Upcycled Plastic Jump Rope

    Kids, fitness junkies, and environmentalists will all love this eco-friendly craft! It uses multiple plastic bags to create an adorable DIY jump rope.

    Upcycled Plastic Jump Rope from Paint Covered Kids

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  • 03 of 24

    Outdoor Pom Pom Light

    Decorating for summertime on the patio just got easier (and incredibly budget-friendly) with these pom pom lights. It's hard to believe something so fun and trendy is made using plastic bags!

    DIY Pom Pom Light Made From Trash from Matsutake

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    Plastic Bag Ghosts

    Celebrating Halloween or any other holiday doesn’t mean you need to go out and buy oodles of single-use plastic decorations. Instead, try upcycling some so-called trash laying around the house. These spooky ghosts, for example, can be easily made from repurposed plastic bags.

    Plastic Bag Ghosts from Small for Big

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    DIY Outdoor Pillows

    You only need a few simple supplies to transform your outdoor space into a cozy sitting area fit for entertaining guests. No need to invest in spendy patio decor, either. All you need is a cute tablecloth and a handful of plastic bags.

    DIY Outdoor Pillows from Two It Yourself

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    Plastic Bag Coin Purse

    Need somewhere to stash your coins (or an eco-friendly gift idea)? Look no further! This easy-to-follow tutorial will show you how to transform one of your old plastic shopping bags into a stylish DIY coin purse. Say goodbye to fishing for stray change in the bottom of your bags.

    Recycled Coin Purse from We Can Make Anything

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    DIY Sleeping Mats for the Homeless

    Plastic sleeping mats.
    Jie Zhao / Getty Images

    There are no buts about it—everyone needs a cozy place to sleep. Lend a helping hand to your community’s homeless population by DIY-ing them their very own sleeping mats. These comfy mats won’t break the bank either. Plastic bags and some hard work will do the trick.

    DIY Sleep Mats for Homeless from The Savvy Age 

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    Recycled Plastic Totes

    Plastic tote.
    Stephanie Henkel

    This blog will walk you through ways to crochet a cute bag of any size using old, unused plastic bags. You can make one big enough to carry your beach supplies, small enough to carry your keys and wallet, or that in-between size to take to the grocery store. And don’t even get us started on the various color options!

    Crochet Beach Bags From Recycled Plastic Bags from Felt Magnet

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  • 09 of 24

    DIY Envelopes

    Sending mail shouldn’t be expensive. Keep costs down by creating your own DIY plastic mailers with fused plastic bags. Sending care packages will never be the same!

    DIY Fused Plastic Bag Made Into Mailer from Reuse Grow Enjoy

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    Plastic Bag Basket

    This may not be the easiest (or quickest) DIY out there, but it’s sure to help shrink your carbon footprint. Depending on what size basket you make, you could save a whopping 50 plastic shopping bags from ending up in the landfill. Talk about eco-friendly!

    DIY Woven Basket Made From Plastic Bags from 1 Million Women

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    DIY Gift Bows

    Bows take every gift-wrapping job to the next level. But, let’s be honest, they’re made of a lot of unnecessary single-use plastics. Good news for environmentalists—you can have your cake and eat it too by making your own upcycled DIY gift bows out of plastic bags.

    Unique Gift Bows ​from Creative Jewish Mom

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    Reuse Your Plastic Bags for Storage & More

    If you aren’t a DIY expert, consider reuse. Reusing plastic bags for things like storing recipe cards or food scraps is an eco-friendly action, too. This blog is chock full of great plastic bag reuse ideas for you.

    60+ Ways to Reuse Plastic Bags from One Good Thing by Jillee

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    DIY Crinkle Toy

    Finding the perfect gift for the new baby or pet in your life is a tough task. Making one yourself will allow you to express just how much you care about them. Plus, you can customize it with cute patterns and colors to match their personality.

    Crinkle Toy From Scrap Plastic from Crafting a Green World

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    Recycled Plastic Coasters

    Avoid water stains on your furniture and show off your eco-friendliness to guests by creating these one-of-a-kind coasters out of plastic bags.

    Fuse Plastic Bags Into Fabulous Coasters from Creative Jewish Mom

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    Plastic Wallet DIY

    To fuse plastic bags together, you’ll need an iron and plenty of plastic bags. From there, you can make a number of cool crafts, including this adorable DIY wallet.

    Recycled Wallet Made With Fused Plastic Bags from Paris en Rose

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    Reuse

    Do you have a pet? If so, you most likely have a pet waste bag on you—just in case. Instead of buying pre-packaged ones, reuse your old plastic shopping bags instead. They’ll get the job done and reduce waste at the same time.

    Idea to Reuse Your Plastic Bags from Little House Living

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    Recycle Them

    Recyclable plastic shopping bags on wooden floor
    Stefanie Grewel / Getty Images

    Recycling is another eco-friendly option when it comes to plastic bags. If your city hasn’t banned the bag yet, you’re likely accumulating them after shopping trips. Recycling is an easy eco-friendly option. Earth911 will guide you through the process.

    How to Recycle Plastic Bags from Earth911

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    Plastic Bag Flower Pot

    Making something out of (seemingly) nothing is an empowering experience. There’s no reason your beautiful DIY can’t be practical, either. This DIY plastic bag plant pot will work well for both indoor and outdoor plants.

    Recycled Plastic Bag Flowerpot from Mami Made It

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    Pack Your Plastic Bags

    Packing for a long vacation can be disastrous, but we’re here to make the process a little easier. Reused plastic bags can have many purposes—don’t forget to stick a few in your suitcase the next time you travel.

    Packing Tips for Your Suitcase from Expert Home Tips

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    DIY Produce Basket

    Whether you’re an avid gardener or casual produce shopper, you need this upcycled plastic bag craft. It’s a great eco-friendly way to give your old plastic bags new life.

    Going Green With Wrapped Baskets from Rad Megan

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    Woven Plastic Rugs

    Rugs are just functional pieces of art. By using plastic bags to make your own, you can create beautiful designs and customize the color scheme to your liking

    Plastic Bag Rugs from Homestead Weaver

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    DIY Plastic Yarn

    DIY plarn.
    Deepak.Aggarwal / Getty Images

    Plarn: the art of making yarn out of plastic. Here, we’ll show you how to make multi-purpose yarn out of plastic bags to create things like rugs, baskets, or anything your heart desires.

    How to Make Plarn from The Spruce

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    Pom Pom Decorations

    As Lucy says in this tutorial, this is “the lazy person’s guide to pom pom making with a plastic bag.” 

    Plastic Bag Pom Pom from Lulastic

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    Plastic Bag Lamp

    Plastic bag lamp
    lindarose92 / Instructables

    Give your room a cozy glow with this table lamp made out of cardboard and repurposed plastic bags. This craft is made even more eco-friendly by using an energy-efficient LED light bulb.

    Plastic Bag Lamp from Instructables