How can I reuse or recycle big plastic (animal/bird) feed bags?

Over on the Suggest an Item page, Emily asked:

Would anybody have any ideas for reusing the bags that stock feed comes in? They are some sort of plastic and not recycleable.

Funnily enough, I had this on my to-do list already as I’m starting to be overrun with the things too – and I’ve only got six small chickens, so I can’t imagine how many are generated by people with lots of animals/birds. (Mine are the heavy-duty flat plastic types – we’ve covered the woven plastic type ones before.)

The things I already do with mine:

  • refill them with bedding & litter when cleaning out the coop. I bag it sometimes rather than tipping it all into the compost heap so I can give it to friends/family as fertiliser. Such a lovely gift! ;)
  • use them to line the wooden planters I make. (I do this with some hesitation for fruit/veg containers as I don’t know what plastic it is so there may be some leaching issues.)
  • use them as rubble sacks – they’re not quite as strong as actual rubble sacks but still pretty useful

I also know some people use them to “waterproof” ceilings of hen/duck houses, and I have a plan to build up the floor in our coop, and will cover it with these bags to make it easier to clean. Away from chicken stuff, I’ve seen people using opaque bags as weed barriers around trees.

Any other suggestions for ways to reuse them? Or any advice on recycling?

One thing I would say, as ever, is try to reduce your collection of them – look to see if there are any paper-bagged alternatives. If you’re storing the feed in a dry place, the paper getting damp shouldn’t be an issue. The heavy paper could be composted or recycled. Any other advice?

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11 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle big plastic (animal/bird) feed bags?”

  1. Medeea says:

    Use them instead of garbage bags.

  2. strowger says:

    between storing chopped firewood, and fetching manure for the garden, we go through quite a few. unless you have posh de-nailed firewood, each sack is only good for re-filling with the former 2 or 3 times before it’s too hole-y to be useful.

    they’re 5p each from our garden centre, a lot better value than 20p each for sacks from the builders merchant.

    so, they aren’t in any sense a waste for reuse/recycle, in fact you could probably sell them if you had enough.

  3. Anonymous says:

    In addition to lining planters, I’m thinking of growbags; they could be filled with soil/ compost, stapled, and then holes can be cut in the top for whatever is to be transplanted into it. I wonder, though, if lack of drainage would be an issue.

  4. Carol says:

    I have used these and and large pet food bags made from plastic as grow bags. I first put drainage holes in them using a pointed shish k bob skewr. I currently have potatoes growing very nicely in them–folded down the edges at first and unfolded to add soil as the plants grew.

  5. Lauren says:

    Make them into reusable shopping bags. By cutting them in half and using the top half to make the handles.

    • sue says:

      Here’s an excellent reference site on how to turn any kind of plastic
      feed bag into these cute tote bags.

  6. Lisa says:

    Hi i am very Intrested in Chicken Feed Bags.i would be willing to buy them from u ..if u would please email me at

  7. Lisa says:


  8. natural builder says:

    These kind of sacks are the ones used to build walls and actual buildings with. Msny in my neck of the woods would buy them to have uniform sizes. Think sand bags. But if they are filled with pea gravel and used filled to build up walls that are laced together a la brick wall layering techiques they form the base of a very sturdy wall.

  9. Karina says:

    I work at a zoo and have plenty of animal feed bags that we are trying to recycle. We create tote bags with some of them, but it has been difficult to keep up with. We would love to recycle them, or send them to someone who could used them. Please let me know if you do.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Bags from bird feed can be used to store grains: rice, beans, even pasta. Just mark it accordingly.

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