Posts tagged "bag"

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?

How can I reuse or recycle the plastic bags from cereal boxes?

Like tin foil the other week, I can’t believe we haven’t covered this one already.

To extend the product shelf lift and to protect it from moisture, most breakfast cereal is wrapped in some sort of plastic – either a snug film wrapping or, more frequently, a plastic bag/liner – inside its cardboard box.

The bags tend to be made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which is resin code 2 and so is theoretically recyclable wherever type 2 plastics are collected. (Do check with your local councils/collection spot though – some places don’t accept film type packaging, even when they accept the same resin code in bottle form.)

But what about reuses before recycling?

My father-in-love stores bread in them since they’re better quality than any sandwich bag you could buy for the purpose. Other people cut them open to use instead of wax paper when preparing many sticky items for baking, or when freezing things like burgers or dough.

What do you do with yours? What are your favourite recycling ideas?

How can I reuse or recycle leather/suede purse/bag?

We’ve had an email from Joanne:

Hi, I have an old leather zipped wallet type purse which is old, worn and quite grubby. I would rather recycle it somehow than put it in the bin but am not sure how to do this. Do you have any ideas?

First, it obviously depends on the state of the item but it might benefit from a makeover. Trying cleaning and polishing the leather, or if it’s suede (as Joanne suggested in her email’s subject line), you can get suede cleaning tools for just a couple of £/$s — they’re obviously good for maintaining all sorts of suede items, they don’t make them spotless but they can improve them a lot. Any other ideas for makeover/upcycling suggestions?

If it’s too far gone for that, the leather might be reclaimable for craft projects – including ones that’ll benefit from a “distressed” look to the leather. The suggestions given on our post about recycling leather/suede from an old sofa might need more leather than a small purse would provide but there still might be enough to make small things with — a larger handbag might have enough good quality leather to make a smaller coin purse. Or it could be used to make small art artefacts – like these cool leather scrap mushrooms.

Any other suggestions?

(I’ve used a stock photo, not Joanne’s actual purse so don’t feel restricted based on the photo – just think old leather purses/bags in general.)

How can I reuse or recycle promotional nylon rucksacks?

I had an email from Melanie the other week:

My name is Melanie and I work for an events company so have promo gifts! We have quite a few nylon rucksacks that we would like to recycle but don’t know where we would take them! Can you please let me know if you can help?

We’ve covered reuses for single broken backpacks before but this query is more of a recycling-en-masse one.

Depending on how many is “quite a few”, try offering them on your local Freecycle/Freegle group or offering them to a local scrap store — the latter might not be in a position to use them themselves but they have great contacts with local schools, charities and playgroups who might be able to use them.

If it’s not possible to pass them on for reuse (for example, because they’re damaged stock or because the company who paid for them in the first place would object), you’ll probably be able to find a textile recycling company who would take them. (Depending on the company, they might only take very large quantities of textiles but you might be able to find an intermediary – for example, charity shops are often paid by weight for their bags of “rags”, items they can’t sell themselves.)

Any other suggestions?

Interesting reusing, recycling & repairing links


(Photo by Diane Gilleland for Craft)