How to Repurpose Old Plastic Bags into Reusable Shopping Totes

How to Repurpose Old Plastic Bags into Reusable Shopping Totes

How to Repurpose Old Plastic Bags into Reusable Shopping Totes

I’ve been looking for ways to reduce my plastic waste and reuse what I already have. One great idea is to repurpose old plastic bags into reusable shopping totes! Here’s how I do it in 6 easy steps:

What you’ll need

  • Old plastic grocery bags, shopping bags, etc.
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Duct tape or fabric glue

Step 1: Prepare the bags

  • Collect at least 5-10 clean plastic bags. The more bags you have, the larger your tote will be. Variety is good – mix and match colors and textures.
  • Cut off any handles and trim the bags down to a rectangle shape.
  • Lay the bags flat and smooth out any major wrinkles and creases.

Step 2: Measure and cut fabric

  • Decide how big you want your tote to be. For an average grocery tote, cut two rectangles about 18″ x 15″.
  • Stack 2-3 bag layers at a time and use your ruler and pencil to mark cutting lines.
  • Use scissors to cut through the stacked layers for matching pieces.

Step 3: Layer and arrange the “fabric”

  • Lay out the cut pieces in your desired pattern and arrangement.
  • Overlap the edges by about 1⁄2 inch. Play around with different color combinations.
  • Once you’re happy with the layout, smooth down the overlap so the pieces lay flat.

Step 4: Add duct tape or glue

  • Working section by section, apply duct tape or fabric glue to the overlapped seams on the wrong side of the fabric.
  • Press firmly to seal the seams. Make sure the tape fully covers the edges.
  • Flip over and ensure none of the tape is visible on the front side.

Step 5: Shape into a tote bag

  • With the right sides facing out, fold your fabric into the size and shape of a tote bag.
  • At the corners, pleat the fabric in about 1-2 inches and tape or glue the corner seams.
  • Apply additional tape or glue as needed to hold the side seams in place.

Step 6: Finish the tote

  • To make handles, cut 2 strips of plastic about 2-3” wide x 20” long. Fold them over and seal with duct tape. Attach to the sides of the tote.
  • For stability, you can also insert a plastic canvas sheet inside the bottom of the bag.
  • Decorate your reusable tote with fabric markers, appliques, patches, ribbons, etc. Enjoy!

By repurposing old plastic bags into a tote bag, I’ve given new life to a used material while also reducing the need for new plastic products. Reusing and upcycling materials is a great sustainability habit. Making your own grocery tote is simple, rewarding, and eco-friendly!