How can I reuse or recycle plastic pet food bags?

We’ve had an email from Alana:

The kibble I get my dog has switched from being in paper bags to plastic ones. What can I do with them now?

You may still be able to recycle them – the plastic cat food bags we’ve got are labelled as recyclable (although not actually saying what type of plastic they are, just that “most councils accept them for recycling” – a great example of the unhelpful lack of information that Simon was complaining about the other day – I suspect they’ll be LDPE, ie number 4 plastic). Check the packaging for similar (although hopefully more helpful) recycling marks.

As for reuses, they’re pretty strong plastic and sometimes with a zip lock seal at the top so can be used for a range of airtight/waterproof storage purposes. An idea for smaller bags might be to decant washing powder from cardboard boxes into the bags to stop it absorbing moisture from the atmosphere. Bigger, dog food size bags, could be used in the garden – a seasonal idea might be to use them for leaf mulch. Staying in the garden, the bags could also be sliced open to use as plastic sheeting to protect crops over winter/discourage weed growth (although with the usual caveat that plastic that isn’t specifically designed for outdoor use tends to break down in the sunshine).

Other ideas?

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8 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle plastic pet food bags?”

  1. carol says:

    Not a very original idea, but I use the larger dog food bags as garbage bags in the garage. They last about as long as the dogs take to empty the next bag. I’ve tried them in the garden as a weed barrier, but the rain puddles on them.

  2. Pet says:

    Yesterday, I made from normal plastic bags, one big shopper, using the idea from It worked very well.
    Perhaps you can do the same with these plastic bags? You might need less layers, since these are thicker than the normal ones.

  3. Since we’ve cut down so much on plastic bag usage, like Carol, I use plastic pet food bags as garbage bags too. I live in the tropics, so weevil and insect infestation of pet food in paper packaging is a huge problem, as is humidity.

  4. Melissa says:

    I love them for trash bags that hold things like broken glass and broken tile and metal and other things that would poke through regular, even black contractor trash bags.

    But I’ve also made archery targets, aprons and other things with them. Here’s a listing of posts from my blog with the tutorials for some of these things too.

  5. Myrtle May says:

    I use a similar type of bag (I presume) to hold my kitchen scraps before they go into the compost bin. I find it much better than anything else I’ve used, it’s simplicity itself to wash out, the zip locks it shut, easily and it’s very light.
    I know that’s only 1 bag, but it’s a start!

  6. Rob says:

    Interesting writeup – definitely makes you look at the bags differently whenever you see them.

  7. JacciR says:

    I have used similar bags as ‘grow bags’, last year my cucumbers were really happy planted in these.

    Step one: Remember to cut the bag open neatly at the top!
    Step two: Use the dog food!
    Step three: Fill the bags with good quality compost, fold and staple the top shut. Lay flat, like a pillow.
    Step four: Punch neat holes in the underside with a sharp knife.
    Step five: Cut 2 slits along the top from left to right – or right to left if you prefer!! Do not cut too close to the edge of the bag.
    Step six: Evenly space your plants, leaving about 15cm between each plant. Works well for tomatoes, cucumbers or pick and come again greens.

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