How to Repurpose Used Plastic Bags Into Eco-Friendly Yarn

How to Repurpose Used Plastic Bags Into Eco-Friendly Yarn
How to Repurpose Used Plastic Bags Into Eco-Friendly Yarn

I’ve been looking for creative ways to reduce my plastic consumption and reuse the plastic I already have. One great option is to repurpose used plastic bags into yarn that can be crocheted or knitted into reusable goods like tote bags or placemats. This keeps plastics out of landfills and reduces waste.

Gathering Used Plastic Bags

The first step is collecting a lot of used plastic bags. I save all the plastic bags I get from stores, takeout, and buying produce. Some key sources of plastic bags I reuse are:

  • Grocery store bags – These are a great source of clean and sturdy plastic bags. I specifically look for polypropylene or recyclable #2 and #4 plastic bags.

  • Bread bags – Bread bags make great yarn because they are long and narrow. This shape is easy to cut into long strips.

  • Newspaper bags – Newspaper delivery bags are durable and long lasting. They make sturdy yarn.

  • Produce bags – Bags from buying fruits, veggies or bulk foods are usually #2 plastic that works well for yarn.

I keep a dedicated bag in my kitchen just for collecting plastic bags until I’m ready to repurpose them.

Preparing the Bags

Once I’ve saved up a lot of plastic bags, the next step is preparing them to make yarn. Here are the key steps:

  • Clean bags – I use a damp cloth to wipe down all bags and remove any dirt or crumbs. Bags should be clean before cutting into strips.

  • Cut into strips – I cut the bags into loops approximately 3/4-inches wide. Long narrow bags (like bread bags) only need one cut down the length. Wider bags need to be cut into rings and then strips.

  • Connect strips – Once cut, I tie strips end-to-end to create very long strands that will be easier to knit or crochet.

  • Wind into balls – After connecting all the strips, I carefully wind them into balls, just like yarn, so they don’t tangle during the knitting or crocheting process.

This prep work takes some time, but it’s simple and makes the bags ready to turn into reusable yarn.

Knitting or Crocheting the Yarn

With my plastic bag yarn prepared, I can now use it for craft projects! My two favorite ways to use the yarn are:

Knitting

  • Cast on using plastic bag yarn just like regular yarn
  • Follow desired knitting pattern as normal
  • Add new balls of plastic bag yarn as needed
  • Bind off when project is complete

Key knitting tips:
– Use size 11-13 needles for best results
– Keep tension loose – don’t pull too tight
– Avoid overly complicated stitch patterns

Crocheting

  • Create slip knot with plastic bag yarn to begin
  • Follow crochet pattern as normal
  • Add new plastic bag yarn balls as required
  • Weave in ends when finished

Key crocheting tips:
– Use a size Q or S crochet hook
– Work in thicker yarn weights for best results
– Simple stitches like single or double crochet work best

I’ve had great success using basic stitches and patterns to create sturdy, eco-friendly totes, placemats, rugs and more with recycled plastic bag yarn!

Washing and Caring for Plastic Bag Yarn Items

Items made from plastic bag yarn are durable, but require some special care:

  • Hand wash only – Do not machine wash or dry items made from plastic bag yarn, as they may melt or deform. Gentle hand washing is best.

  • Line dry – Lay items flat or hang to dry. Again, no machine drying which can damage the plastic yarn.

  • Avoid high heat – When washing or drying, keep temperatures low to prevent any risk of melting. Lukewarm water is ideal.

With the proper care, products made from repurposed plastic bags can last for many uses. Caring for them properly allows me to continue reducing waste.

Transforming something destined for the landfill into a new reusable product gives me so much satisfaction. I hope this inspires you to give plastic bag yarn projects a try! Collecting and repurposing materials headed for waste is one of the most direct ways we can make a difference through sustainable living.