How can I reuse or recycle old plastic pockets?

plastic-pocketsDo they have a name? Those plastic pocket things used in ring binders or lever arch files, for paper you don’t want to or can’t hole punch? If there is a name, I don’t know it, which makes it might hard to find a photo of them ;) UPDATE: Jack sent over a photo for me to use – thanks Jack!

Anyway, they’re great for reusing for their original purpose time and time again until you overfill them one time and the hole reinforcement strip tears/pulls out and from then on, it constantly, annoyingly, falls out of the folder every time you lift it up.

What can be done with the rest of the plastic then? It’s usually smooth, flat and clear – there must be some practical and crafty reuses for something like that.

They’re usually made from polypropylene apparently (plastic code number 5) which can be recycled but isn’t collected as standard in all places. So how can they be reused instead?

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20 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle old plastic pockets?”

  1. caroline says:

    I sometimes use them instead of laminating for temporary things. I put the paper in the pocket and then sellotape up the side. It doesn’t work forever but it is quite good for temporary signs. And it doesn’t matter if the holes are broken.

  2. Alice says:

    Could you make lampshades with them? Maybe fill them with scraps of paper, leaves, coloured transparent chocolate wrappers etc, then wrap them around a frame so the light shines through them?

    Where I work the creche has lots of these hung up in the windows full of fish shapes cut out of tissue paper, which looks great!

  3. kittykat says:

    Put a thin piece of cardboard in one. In back of the cardboard put some of those flexible magnetic thingies everyone gives away as promotional/
    advertising freebies. Now, stick it to the fridge door- put notes, menus,
    grocery list, whatever in front of the cardboard. Swap out info as needed.

  4. kittykat says:

    If you have a lot of stuff stored in cardboard boxes or plastic tubs you can tape one on the side and put the “packing manifest” in it. Then all you have to do to find out what’s in that container is read the data.

  5. beck says:

    If the holes tore, you can put a few pieces of tape over it and then re-hole punch it and use it again. I usually do this anyway just to reinforce the holes.

  6. Astroflammante says:

    I use a couple of these when I have to put pressure on something I glued together. I cut away the broken parts so that I have a flat sheet of plastic. This I put between the glued things and whatever it is I don’t want to get stuck. Example: plastic on the surface, then the papers I glued together, then another piece of plastic, then a pile of heavy books to put pressure on the paper pieces.

    Of course, this only works when using a glue that doesn’t adhere to plastic. But in these cases it’s a good way to avoid accidentally gluing your fancy bookmark to the floor….

  7. Graham says:

    Use them as a freezer bags, airport security bags, waterproof map cases for walking, or put it in the yellow bag…the fortnightly collection of recyclable metals and plastics here in France. It won’t save the planet though, but the planet can look after itself, it has done for millennia without human intervention.

  8. I use them for ‘laminating’ temporary signs, as Caroline also suggested, and also as book dust jackets. Opened up on 3 sides, they are perfect for wrapping book covers in.

  9. h.elizabeth says:

    I use these to hold recipes while I’m cooking. That way if they get wet or splattered, they can just be wiped off. (For me this is doubly green, as it saves me from re-printing my favorite recipes from the internet…I’m kind of a messy cook!)

  10. Bobbie says:

    I just remembered something to do with these. You can write on them with erasable pens. This makes it possible to make a list with a ball point pen, cover with the plastic, then as you complete an item, cross it off on the plastic. That means daily chore lists wouldn’t have to be written or copied each day, simply erase the lines, and use again.

  11. Kelvin16 says:

    One consideration with inline sixes and twelves is torsional vibration in the long crankshafts. ,

  12. Cassie says:

    I use these for lots of crafts projects. When doing a collage portrait, I first trace a picture of my subject onto one of these by holding it over my laptop screen. (Lesson learned: this is only a good idea with the thicker, non ink permeable sheet protectors!) Then I can actually hold the plastic over my different materials and cut through both to get the shapes needed. Added bonus here is that all the other materials are recycled, too.

    I’ve also made lots of picture frames with these. Cut out the area you need, slide in a photo and a promotional magnet, and stick it on the fridge.

  13. Rose says:

    Use the shiny clear ones (i.e. not the textured ones) in card-making & crafts to make things like “window cards” (you make a little pocket from the plastic, fill it with bits and bobs like sequins, and tape it behind the aperture in a card so it shows through).

  14. K says:

    My son’s school uses them for no-mess painting. They fill them with a little bit of poster paint and then tape off the top. Then the kids can finger paint without getting messy.
    It is really neat. And looks cool if you use more than one color.

  15. idunwishtorevealmyname says:

    hello, norma’lly i just chuck it at a side! Because, i’ve tons & tons of clear files! so, wad can i do wid those plastic binders???

  16. Jacqualine says:

    there are many uses tot his plastic binders! it’s such a waste to throw them away! yeah, so we should recycle them! &&&& i always use plastic protectors you can get from daiso to reinforce the holse when they get torn! remember, reduce, reuse, recycle!!!

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