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    10 Off-Grid Uses for Plastic Grocery Bags

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    10 Off-Grid Uses for Plastic Grocery Bags

    At the heart of every homesteader is the desire to make use of what you have on hand. Finding different ways to reuse and recycle materials is part of what makes homesteaders so unique. 

    Many state governments, cities, and communities are cracking down on using plastic grocery bags, straws, and convenient cups. In fact, there are statewide bans on single-use plastic bags in 8 states currently, with more legislation on the way for others.

    So, while you could turn in those bags for recycling before, there may not be places to do so now that areas are banning the use of them in the first place.

    While you can reuse the single-use plastic grocery bag for another trip to the store, there are plenty of other useful ways to use them around the homestead. Check out these 10 off-grid uses for plastic grocery bags to try this year.

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    Braid a Rope

    While it is quite easy to rip or break a single grocery bag by itself, the plastic can become much stronger when braided together. You can weave bags together first to create a string and then braid the strings together to create a rather strong rope.

    This could be useful in multiple ways on the homestead: from securing items together to leading animals to using them for emergencies. Really, the uses for a rope when living off-grid are numerous!

    Construct a Rug

    Muddy boots and feet are commonplace on the farm. You can create your own rug to use outside a door or inside the home. There are many ways to connect plastic bags for rug making, but most of them involve looping of bags with each other to create a tight knot.

    Some homesteaders like to crochet the bags, but there is another method that involves loops, braids, and knots to make a rug. 

    Crochet a Tote Bag

    I know, making a bag out of a bag? While it may seem silly, you can make a much stronger and longer-lasting tote bag out of multiple single-use bags. Previous crochet knowledge can help when building your own tote bag.

    This method includes making plarn, or plastic yarn, from grocery bags and then crocheting them together to create any size of the tote bag desired. Larger crochet hooks will create a larger weave, while a smaller crochet hook will create a tighter weave that may not even look like plastic bags once finished.

    Build a Basket

    Off-grid homesteaders have plenty of uses for a sturdy basket. When harvesting from the garden, baskets are great to use to gather fruits or vegetables and carry them inside for processing.

    Not only are baskets easy to carry and loop around the arm, but they offer a ton of use while doing other off-grid chores, shopping, or moving items around. Here are step-by-step instructions.

    Catch a Fish

    You can use a few single-use plastic grocery bags to catch a fish without ever needing a fishing pole. Double up a few bags together, then poke tiny holes in the bottom of them. Find a narrow stream and use rocks to create a channeled area for fish to move through.

    You can secure the bags to the end of the channel with stones and then corral the fish into the area by using your body, boat, or slapping the water to move them in one direction. When a fish is stuck, simply grab the loops of the bag to carry your fish out.

    Create Plastic Fabric

    Another important item to have when going off-grid is fabric. While you could create your own fabric by raising sheep, there is another way to make easy fabric for your home. Plastic grocery bags melt at high temperatures and can be melted together in small areas to create a large, flat sheet.

    This could be great for those homesteads who want to conceal an area, create a tarp, or need some fabric to use as a shade, sail, or windsock. The fact that plastic grocery bags are waterproof also makes this fabric essential on the homestead.

    Make Shoe Covers

    Shoe Covers From Plastic Grocery Bags
    Image via NProkuda Origami

    Keeping your feet dry is a priority for any kind of emergency or SHTF situation. Plastic bags are easy to pop onto feet or shoes to keep them as dry as possible. Most bags offer enough space to quickly slip over the shoe and use the handles to secure the bag to the foot.

    Double up bags if you are worried about rips or tears as well. When crossing areas of water that are slippery, consider putting the plastic bags over your socks before putting the shoe on to protect your skin from getting wet.

    Use as Stuffing

    When creating soft textiles around the home, plastic bags make a great filling substitute that won’t mold or harbor odor. Consider using plastic bags to stuff outdoor fabric to create pillows that are perfect to use on the porch or outdoor dining areas. If you stuff enough bags into the space, it creates a plush feel without so much of that plastic bag crinkle sound.

    Save Painting Supplies

    Any kind of home paint project can be time-consuming and stressful. Grab a few plastic grocery bags during the process to help keep your supplies in good condition.

    When you need a break, simply wrap a wet paintbrush or roller in a plastic bag to keep air from drying out the brush and paint. Well-wrapped paint brushes or rollers can hang out like this for hours, making prepping and cleaning up easier.

    Pack It Up

    Plastic grocery bags act much like crumpled-up newspapers when it comes to packing and storing away items. Managing storage and keeping items in prime condition is an important part of living off-grid.

    Instead of relying on stores to replace broken items or to purchase stuffing for boxes, why not just use the plastic bags that you already have? The bags are lightweight as well, making the package easy to handle while offering extra security when the bags are packed tightly.

    There are countless ways to use a plastic grocery bag once it has brought home your items from the store. Save up these bags and consider using them in a new way this year. From creating sturdy textiles and baskets to keeping your feet and items safe, there is no telling what you can use a plastic bag for! 

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