Reusing Grocery Bags

Although we can't take plastic grocery bags at our recycling bin sites, there are other options to recycle or reuse
them around the house.

To recycle grocery bags, check with your local grocery stores or Wal-Mart. Stores often have containers set up inside the doors or just outside of them for depositing used grocery bags. If you can't reuse them at home or on your next trip to the store, just take them back to where you got them!

Here are some great tips for reusing grocery bags that you may not have thought about before:

Knee Pads
Need to kneel in your garden to pull weeds, or on the street to change a tire, but don't want to preserve the memory eternally on your pant legs? Grab a couple of plastic bags and tie one around each knee, covering the entire area that will be exposed to dirt and grime.
Hand Protectors
Fact: There are some things you'd just as soon not touch with your bare hands. Use bags as gloves to handle what's messy (say, chicken carcasses) or just plain gross (like the little "presents" the dog leaves in the front yard), then turn them inside out to trap the offending matter inside for easy disposal.
Paint Preservers
You're painting the kitchen when an emergency calls you off the job. To keep brushes and rollers from drying out, place them in bags and tie them or wrap them with rubber bands to keep air out. The tools will stay moist and protected for a day or so.
Makeshift Rain Hats
A 30 percent chance of rain…hmm. Do you tote around an umbrella (maybe for nothing) or head out sans protection (and risk getting drenched)? Third option: Tuck a plastic bag into your pocket or purse. Then, if you're caught in a downpour, you can use it as a makeshift rain hat to protect your hair do.
Easy Kitchen Clean-Ups
For easy cleanup, instead of peeling fruits and vegetables over a cutting board or into the sink, do it over a plastic bag. When you're done, flip the peelings into the garbage or compost bin and rinse the bag to reuse another day, or simply toss the bag into the trash.
Plastic Bags as Wrapping Paper
No time to make an emergency pre-party run for wrapping paper? Riffle through your bags to find the prettiest and most colorful — or just ones without writing. Triple-bag the gift, then tie all three sets of handles into a knot. Cut the tops of the loops and fan the pieces out to make a plume.
Wet Umbrella Holders
To avoid dripping water all over your (or anyone else's) house on a rainy day, pop your wet umbrella into a bag as you cross the threshold. You can even tie the handles snugly and throw it back into your purse.
Shoe Protectors
It will never be a fashion trend, but tying bags over your shoes can keep you from tracking mud into the house when you come in, or protect slippers from dirt, snow, or rain when you run out to fetch the paper from the front lawn. (Be careful when walking on smooth surfaces, as the plastic won't give you any traction.)
Cookbook Protectors
To keep the cookbook clean while attempting that "easy to follow" seven-layer-cake recipe, wrap a bag around everything but the page you're using. Although it won't keep you from inevitably spattering the list of ingredients with vanilla extract, the rest of the book, at least, will remain clean.
Planter Fillers Crumple bags to fill the bottom of a large pot that's too deep for your plant (but be sure not to cover the drainage hole, if it has one). You can cut down on the amount of potting soil needed, and since plastic packs less heft than dirt, you'll be able to move a big planter around with a bit less grunting.


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