How can I reuse or recycle cloth/woven plastic rice sacks?

rice_bags.jpgWe’ve had an email from unsteadyocean:

I was just wondering if anyone has suggestions for reusing the cloth bags that bulk rice comes in? I’ve seen suggestions for making them into tote bags but I would love to get more ideas.

Around here, they tend to be plastic-coated cloth or just woven plastic – but either way, ripe for re-using.

So any suggestions?

(Photo by kirsche222)

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31 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle cloth/woven plastic rice sacks?”

  1. mercutiom says:

    Sew on some handles and you’ve got a new recyclable grocery bag. You may even be able to use one bag (folded and sewn) to make the handles for another.

  2. Karlie says:

    We use the zippered burlap kind to hold plastic grocery bags so we can re-use them.

    The zipper is great too because it keeps the plastic contained while the bag is in the trunk.

    The single loop makes hanging it in the kitchen a breeze as well.

    We’ve also been known to use them for trick-or-treat bags

  3. Mary says:

    I think these would make great play aprons for messy play activities, especially if they are plastic lined. Also, you could make baby bibs or burp cloths out of them–cut to size and bind with bias tape. How about changing pads for on the road?

    If they are all fabric (no plastic) and the design/label is interesting, you could use them in quilts.

  4. Frannie says:

    One could stuff them to make floor cushions.

    Or cut them into rectangles, sew on a fabric border and have unique placemats.

  5. AliceJ says:

    Give them to people with allotments, so they can store potatoes in them. It’s been a good year for spuds and I’m running out of bags to keep all mine in!

  6. Jo Ann says:

    We have used them to make children’s playhouses. We have cut the bottom or top off, so that it can slip over a frame built of PVC pipe. We then but doors and holes for windows. Many childcare centers use them for reading corners or time-out spaces.

    Ours are 3′ x 4′ so they are big enough to fit 3-4 small children in.

  7. Kelly says:

    Build a house with them! Yes! They can be filled with dirt and then laid like sandbags and rendered over. Look up “earthbag building”
    for more info :o

  8. Anonymous says:

    ahhhh now i got one you could fill it with dirt and grow trees or plants in them.

  9. Sordale says:

    If they are burlap, you can use them to cover your garden when the meteo is broadcasting subzero temp. It happens sometimes at night in the summer (well here in Canada it does). Keeps your plants from freezing.

  10. renee says:

    they make great biodegradable weed mats. just place them over your weeds/grass and cover with mulch. eventually they break down but by that time all the weed seeds have died.

  11. Kahuluibob says:

    I have people that would like to purchase large cloth rice bags. One of their uses is as game bags as well as Hawaiian themed clothing/purses. PLEASE CONTACT ME IF YOU WISH TO SELL SOME CLOTH RICE BAGS.
    Thank You

    • Scott Andrews says:

      I noticed ur post in 2008 about cloth rice bags, i have about 750 plastic
      woven 25 lb bags with handles. Are you interested in these? i can send pics

  12. Ruti says:

    They look big enough to make under bed storage bags. Maybe they might work as groundsheets / sitters for camping.

  13. Dixie says:

    I would be interested in buying some rice bags if you have some to
    sell. Please email what you have.

    • Krupa says:

      Hi Dixie,

      Yes, I do have some plastic rice bags (20 Lbs)…from NJ, USA…would like to know if you are interested in buying them…I should be having approx. around 30 bags or so..

      Let me know..


    • Barbara says:

      I have many small to medium sized rice canvas bags. I didn’t know what to do with them.

  14. To: Kahuluibob, Dixie says:

    I have several rice bags that I’d like to give away. Please contact me at: xmaniac1x [at]

    All I ask is shipping for the bags (at least the first time), and since I purchase rice every month, once I collect a few, I can send them to you again if you’re still interested.


  15. To: Kahuluibob, Dixie says:

    Do note that these are small rice bags (company: Zafarani + Royal) and are made out of burlap.

  16. Mark says:

    I recently read an article that recommended packing them as tightly as possible with plastic grocery bags, sewing them closed, drawing a bullseye on them, and using them for targets for bow & arrows. I thought that was pretty ingenius!

  17. Just been trying to prep a few big rice bags for a backing for a rag rug, but have plastic lining, washing helps and lots of pulling bits off….may not be worth it in the long run

  18. annabel says:

    I am super interested in rice bags but in big quantities (we are building an earthbag cottage). if anyone knows where i could get a hold of bags that would solve one of our greatest problems. thanx

    • LL says:

      Annabel…. check your local chinese restaurants… they should have plenty.

    • john henry says:

      some coffee shops give away or sell their bags cheaply
      but they are not rice bags but coffee bags and are usually burlap or jute, if that is what you are looking for, you can search on google and find them selling for like 15 cents eacch

  19. Olia says:

    Turn them into cushions and pillows for outside seating.

  20. Olia says:

    Cut out whatever text and frame to decorate the house.

  21. Olia says:

    Make a beach beg.

  22. I use hundreds of these. Please can I have your spares ? (just joking) If they let water through slowly they are perfect for plants. I have friend who grow veggies in these as the yard is concrete. They should be perfect for balconies. I myself use them for trees. When the trees are grown enough they can be planted in the ground in the bags without disturbing the roots because these bags deteriorate when exposed to sunlight quite badly. I also use them for plants in my artificial wetland, for cleaning gray water. They should be great for pond plants. They will soon be covered with green algae and you won’t see them under the water. Selling trees can be lucrative if you get the right trees and access the right market. The only trouble with using them for plants is they fall apart when you lift them after a few months. Our UV radiation here is very strong. If you want to make products I think they make fantastic shopping bags with their printed logos. You could make quirky or unique rain jackets and line them with soft nylon fabric. cushions ? for building sand bag architecture ? the bags for the sand can be pricy for people low on the dollar. they could make hats – they should be nice and stiff once stitched, and would soon fall apart and be thrown away. the shredded threads could be used for stuffing mattresses.

  23. Elizabeth says:

    I have drainage issues in my back yard, so I’m collecting the 25lb. rice bags (from Costco) to fill with sand in order to divert some runoff to the storm drain instead of the middle of my yard. If anyone else has used these for this purpose, I’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions.

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