For those who have been participating in our Curbside Pickup service, you likely have quite a few paper bags on hand. The nice thing about these bags is that there are many things you can do with them! Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Recycle: This is the easiest way to rid yourself of excess bags. Put them in the recycling bin after removing any staples, and that’s all there is to it! You could also use the bags to hold your other recyclable items to carry out to the bin, as long as you have single-stream recycling.
- Compost: Paper bags can be ripped up and added to compost piles; just make sure to take out any staples. Check out the EPA’s recommendations for composting. https://www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home
Gardening: Newspapers and paper bags make good weed blockers in the garden. https://www.walkinginhighcotton.net/2017/03/using-paper-grocery-bags-weed-barrier-garden/
Paper bags can also serve to collect weeds and lawn trimmings when gardening.
- Groceries: Many grocery stores require customers to pack their own groceries if they bring in reusable bags. If you don’t mind doing so, these bags can serve as limited-use reusable bags, which you can then recycle or compost once they wear out.
Food Storage: Fruit can be put in paper bags to ripen further. https://food.unl.edu/fruits-continue-ripen-after-theyre-picked
Paper can also help preserve certain foods longer, such as potatoes and onions, which are best stored in paper bags in the pantry.
- Book Covers: Use the bags to cover your books and textbooks the old-school way. https://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-Paper-Bag-Book-Cover
- Murals: Cut off the handles and the bottoms of bags. Open up one seam on the side. Tape the flattened bags end-to-end to form as long of a mural as you would like. Now you can decorate the clean side of the paper to create a lovely mural.
- Wrapping Paper: Cut open the bag as instructed for the murals. Then, using the inside, wrap your package with the clean side out. You can also decorate using stamps, markers, or paint, though you will want to do this before wrapping the gift.
- Envelopes: Stay connected with your friends and loved ones the old-fashioned way. Make some sturdy envelopes, then decorate them to send someone a surprise! https://thepostmansknock.com/create-handmade-envelope-paper-bag/
- Packaging Filler: You can wrap fragile items in cut up paper bags or send the bags (without their handles or staples) through the shredder to create recyclable package filler to protect items to be shipped.
- Crafts: Paper bags make great crafting materials. https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/paper-bag-crafts-for-kids-and-adults-4144697
Want some more ideas?
Try out some of these books from the library! Any craft that calls for sturdy or thicker paper could probably work with a paper bag.