Recycling Reusable Shopping Bags
Not so long ago we talked about the environmental impact of various reusable shopping bags, emphasizing on such bags’ afterlife. As we said back then, while plastic shopping bags end up eventually in landfills and oceans, we can reuse shopping bags and repurpose them to prolong their life even after the point of no return. As we like to be consistent, we want to talk about some methods and ideas of recycling reusable shopping bags in fun and innovative methods.
1. Style up Your Canvas Tote Bag
You may have a canvas or cotton tote bag you used intensively. It now may present some stains or spots, it may look a bit rugged, or its print may have begun to fade. Instead of throwing it away, you can style it up and turn it into an entirely new casual bag. Here you have 15 ideas on how to style up, repurpose your canvas bags, and turn them into veritable pieces of art.
If the tote bag is still resilient to carrying a load – but it just doesn't look pretty anymore – you can patch it up, cover it with all sorts of decorations, and wear it as a day tote bag with the exact look and flair you give it.
2. Use them for Dressing Storage
If you have a handful of tote bags you do not use anymore, do not throw them away, but use them instead of clothes boxes.
- If you have seasonal items you need to keep out of reach when they are out of season, place them in canvas tote bags and place them on the top shelves of your dressing.
Canvas tote bags make excellent storage because they take less space than boxes. Moreover, the fabric is breathable, so the clothes inside will get enough air to keep a fresh smell.
- You can cut off the handles to turn the tote bags into small sacks, but we do not recommend this. Keep the handles so you can take the bags from the top shelf easier. Use your tote bags for winter socks and beanies, for instance, or for smaller personal items such as scarves or gloves to safely store them for the season.
- Moreover, you can use a tote bag to store kids’ toys in your cabinets, as well as your knitting gear and yarn.
3. Use them for Storing Food
Since you used your tote bags for grocery shopping, nobody says you cannot reuse them for storing food at home. Depending on the size of your bags, you can start recycling reusable shopping bags by turning them into food storage items.
- For instance, you can repurpose a used mesh tote bag to store fruits and vegetables on your kitchen counter, just like you find mesh bags of fruits and veggies in the supermarkets;
- You can also reuse mini cotton tote bags to store dry products, such as pasta, rice, beans, seeds and nuts in your pantry;
- Use a large burlap tote bag you no longer use as a rustic fruit and vegetable container on your kitchen countertop to have fresh fruit at hand and style up your kitchen design as well.
4. Style Up Your Planters
If you love caring for houseplants, why should you not try revamping the planters and give your rooms (and plants) a new flair? If you have some colored cotton tote bags lying around, waiting for recycling, cut off their handles and use them to dress up your planters.
If you need to style up larger planters or planters coming in unusual shapes, you can add a rustic flair to your indoor garden with the help of square burlap bags you do not want to throw away.
5. Turn Tote Bags into Pillowcases
Printed and decorated tote bags are exquisite, but it is fair to assume you will not use them forever. Some specialty tote bags, such as wedding bags, for instance, have a nostalgia and a sweetness flair to them and it would be a shame for you to throw them away.
Turning your used tote bags into pillowcases is easy:
- Cut off the handles carefully;
- If you want permanent pillows, insert a pillow in the tote bag and use needle and thread to sew the margins;
- If you want a pillowcase to take off and wash on necessary, use buttons and loops.
This method works well for all printed and personalized tote bags you no longer use. They can be your bridesmaid tote bag or some tote bags you have left from your wedding. Similarly, you can upcycle some monogrammed tote bags or some tote bags you personalized with your name, a fun quote, or a cute design you do not want to give up.
6. Turn a Used Tote Bag in a Child’s Kitchen Apron
You can make this very cute DIY project for and together with your small child. A jumbo size cotton tote bag is perfect for a kitchen apron-tailoring project. You need some scissors, thread, and needle, and even some colored fabric scraps to turn into apron decorations. All you need to do is separate the tote bag into its two sides.
- Use one side together with its handle to make the front side of the apron; cut it and sew hems to make it look like a veritable apron for your small child;
- Cut off the handle of the other tote bag side to make the belt of the apron; if the handle of the tote bag is too short to use, sew another type of belt on the sides of the apron. You can use two thin straps of fabric, drawstring, or even repurposed leather straps from an old leather belt or purse handle.
- You now have a piece of canvas – rectangular or square – you should also reuse to make a chef’s hat or bandana for the child.
Recycling reusable shopping bags is easy. You can consider cotton and canvas tote bags, burlap bags you do not use anymore, mesh bags, and even nonwoven bags. They work well as potting soil sacks for your balcony or garden. You can also turn a smaller reusable shopping bag into a travel necessaire if you upgrade it with a zipper.
We wanted to share with you the 6 different ways of recycling your tote bag into a new item. Did you ever upcycle or recycled a used shopping bag? What other ideas can you share with us?