How can I reuse or recycle zip lock coffee bean bags?

I had one of those “it’s amazing how things mount up” moments the other day when I opened our tea & coffee cupboard and was confronted with this:

They’re all empty, flattened out version of these:

John likes his coffee.

To be fair, he does prefer quality rather than quantity and these represents many many months of coffee consumption but still, it’s a lot of plastic.

Some details of the bags. They’ve got a zip lock closing at the top – but also a “breathing” pore so aren’t actually water or air tight. They’ve got a gusset bottom (as you can see from the second picture). They’re about 20cm/8ins square. They smell very strongly of coffee. They’re very, very red.

One idea I had was to make a shopping bag along the lines of this one (which uses cat food pouches). Or using the same patchwork principle to make a storage box for all John’s coffee paraphernalia.

(I’m also going to contact the coffee company to see if they have any recycling advice.)

Any other suggestions for reusing or upcycling them?

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7 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle zip lock coffee bean bags?”

  1. anna says:

    I absolutely LOVE coffee bags for crafts. That would probably be my #1 favorite craft material. Many kind of bags, wallets…
    So I’m always collecting them for that purpose, and asking my friends to save their coffee bags for me. Especially the nice looking ones, and I love when I get some from some exotic places from other countries.
    So I would be always willing to give them a good use :)

    A few ideas what you can do (that is if you don’t want to send them to me…) below:
    - take very carefully the air lock away, and back that hole with a piece of duct tape. That will make the bag usable for crafts, and the hole will not get larger
    - coffee bag wallet
    - I love just making bags without patters. Shoulder bags, hand bags, cosmetic bags… Clean and open the bags, and see what layout works and how big a bag you can make. Sew front pieces, sew back pieces, then make it a bag.
    - coffee cup holder. back it with fleece or some recycled canvas, and make it to be the correct size for your coffee cup
    - notebook or passport covers
    - keep one of those coffee zip bags as a travel safe. Just make sure you don’t throw it away by mistake! Money smelling like coffee sounds good…
    - similarly you could make it a beach safe, for phones, ipods etc. just remove the air lock and back the hole with duct tape to keep it water proof

    • Anonymous says:

      To Anna: I just saw your march 2011 posting but I have coffee bags that predate your posting! Only just thought of looking to see if there are uses for them; the Starbucks bags – some of them- can be used for a free grande. But I am certain that health regs do not permit refilling them (this country really needs to retool some of these regs). Perhaps you could approach Starbucks about getting the empties. I try to get their “grounds for the garden” (plants love coffee) which are spent coffee grounds in which the mylar bags coffee beans are packed. They are a fabulously shimmery silver. Anyway, I have no idea what to do with what I have and have tossed some really interesting ones. I’d be happy to send you what I have, if it is not too complicated and if you are still in the market for them/ Barbara Friend: (in Saranac Lake, NY).

  2. Petra says:

    I made several things of coffee bags. I like especially the ones with a silver lining.
    - I made several baskets with using the gum wrapper technique. I used rectangles of around 1″ by 3″. So you coffee bags should be large enough for several parts.
    - I made “plarn” of it by cutting around and crocheted a belt and some hair bands for my daughters
    That’s what I can think of now, but I’m sure there was more.

  3. Great ideas guys!

    I reuse sunflower seed bags and other bags for homemade trail mix and snacks.

  4. Ulechka says:

    Plant herbs in them.

  5. Olia says:

    Rince them and pack your lunch.

  6. Uluska says:

    Seww Christmas ornaments in the shapes of birds.

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