How to Repurpose Plastic Bags into Reusable Shopping Totes
I’ve been trying to reduce my plastic waste and reuse what I already have around the house. One easy way I’ve found to do this is by repurposing plastic bags into reusable shopping totes. Here’s how I do it:
First, you’ll need to collect some plastic bags. Grocery store plastic bags work great, but you can also use plastic shopping bags, bread bags, newspaper sleeves, or other clean plastic bags. You’ll also need:
- Hole punch (optional)
- A reusable shopping tote as a template (optional)
I like to gather together at least 10-20 bags to make a durable tote. Make sure they are clean and dry.
Cutting the Plastic
Next, cut along the seams of the plastic bags to lay them flat. Try to cut off any logos, handles, or text printed on the bags – this gives you a blank canvas to work with.
Cut off any bottom seams as well. Then, cut the plastic into strips about 2-3 inches wide. The longer the strips, the sturdier your bag will be.
Tip: Overlap two bags and cut through both layers at once to save time.
Connecting the Strips
Now it’s time to connect the strips into a large sheet. I like to use an existing tote bag as a template, but you can also just eyeball the size you want.
Method 1: Ironing
- Lay strips adjacent to each other, slightly overlapping.
- On a low heat setting, use an iron to fuse the layers of plastic together. Apply pressure and move slowly.
- Once fused, reinforce with tape on the underside if needed.
Method 2: Taping
- Simply tape strips together on the underside using a strong clear tape.
- Make sure the strips overlap by at least 1 inch.
Forming the Tote Shape
Once your plastic sheet is complete, it’s time to form the tote shape.
- Fold the sheet in half widthwise.
- Next, bring the short ends together and seal with tape to form the sides.
- For the bottom seam, create a simple folded edge by making a few cuts and overlapping the flaps.
Reinforce the seams with extra tape for durability.
No tote is complete without handles! You can create handles a few ways:
- Braided rope handles – Braid together strips of plastic bags. Tape or stitch to the sides.
- Cloth handles – Use sturdy fabric or even old ties. Attach by stitching or with heavy duty snaps.
- Punched holes – Use a hole punch to create holes on either side. Thread rope, ribbon, or twine through to make shoulder straps.
Get creative with materials you have on hand for handles.
To complete your plastic bag tote:
- Laminate with clear packing tape for a glossy look and extra sturdiness.
- Add touches like pockets, decorative fabric, buttons, or other embellishments.
- Stitch or staple around the sides for extra reinforcement.
And that’s it – you’ve repurposed plastic bags into a fun, functional new reusable tote! It’s a great eco-friendly project that gives old bags new life. Plus, you can customize the size, shape, and look to create bags perfect for you.