“Upcycling Plastic Bags into Trash Can Liners”

“Upcycling Plastic Bags into Trash Can Liners”

Upcycling Plastic Bags into Trash Can Liners


Reusing plastic bags that would otherwise be thrown away is an excellent way to reduce waste and get more use out of these common household items. Turning plastic grocery bags into trash can liners is one of the most popular upcycling projects. This comprehensive guide will walk through all the steps and considerations for transforming plastic bags into functional trash bags that can line small wastebaskets.

Gathering Materials

The basic materials needed for this easy upcycling project are:

  • Plastic grocery bags – The thin polyethylene bags are best. Collect bags that are clean and free of major defects.

  • Scissors – Sharp scissors make cutting the bags simple.

  • Ruler or tape measure (optional) – useful for measuring uniform bag sizes.

Many people already accumulate plastic bags at home. Grocery stores may also be willing to give away clean bags they would otherwise recycle. Focus on collecting bags of similar size and thickness for your project.

Cutting the Bags

Cutting the bags into consistent pieces makes them easier to assemble. There are a couple approaches:

  • Cut each bag into 3 equal rectangles by slicing down the sides.

  • For a more precise size, measure and cut bags into uniform squares – for example, cut 10×10 inch squares.

The cut size will depend on the size of the trash bins the bags will be used for. Smaller 3-5 inch squares work well for lining small bins.

Connecting the Plastic Pieces

There are two easy methods to connect the plastic pieces:

  • Tie pieces together – Simply knot the cut bag squares together through holes punched along the edges.

  • Link with strips of plastic – Cut plastic strips to tie pieces together by threading through punched holes.

Either approach works well to create a large plastic sheet ready to be shaped into a trash bag liner. Tying knots gives a more rustic, casual look while plastic strips result in a more polished product.

Shaping and Using the Liners

Once all the pieces are tied together in a large sheet, shaping the plastic liner is simple:

  • Drape the sheet in the garbage container, allowing excess plastic to hang over the edges.

  • Trim any excess plastic using scissors to create a custom fit liner for the trash bin.

The finished upcycled plastic bag liner can now be lifted out and re-used whenever the small garbage needs to be emptied. The liner is opaque enough to conceal trash contents.

Creative Variations

Beyond basic plastic grocery bags, there are lots of creative variations on this upcycling idea:

  • Use plastic shopping bags in different colors to make patterned liners

  • Hang strips of plastic bags on hooks to make pretty garlands

  • Braid together t-shirt plastic bags into rag rugs

  • Sew together pieces of plastic bags to make waterproof totes or pouches

Let your imagination run wild to make fun upcycled creations from plastic destined for the landfill! The possibilities are endless.


Upcycling plastic bags into trash can liners gives these common throwaway items new life. This simple DIY project is an easy way to reduce plastic waste around the home. With just some basic materials and tools, plastic grocery bags can be transformed into reusable liners in no time. Get creative with plastic bag upcycling to make liners and other crafty decor items unique to your style.