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Learn how to turn trash into a functional new bag part 1

From thin and whimsy single-use produce bags transforms into a sturdy multi-use plastic bag.

Do you want to learn how to upcycle your one-use produce plastic bags? At our home we’re pretty good at remembering to bring our cloth reusable bags on grocery runs but we still rely on the single-use produce bags. Today I’m going to show you one way to reuse those bags to start your journey in upcycling and promoting zero waste slow living. Using common household items we’re going to fuse single-use plastic bags together into a sturdier plastic sheet that we can use to make into other things!

Tools and materials you will need includes:

  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Wax paper or parchment paper
  • Single-use plastic bags (I used 4 bags for one project)
Remember to sandwich the single-use plastic bags with wax paper on the top and bottom.
Fusing the plastics together

Here’s how you can get started:

  1. Heat up your iron and set it to medium heat to start. You’ll want to pay attention to this setting and adjust according to what you observe with your plastics.
  2. Cover your ironing board with wax/parchment paper to protect the surface from melted plastic. Just one single layer of wax paper is enough for a couple presses.
  3. Prepare your single-use plastic bags. Cut off handles and the bottom of the bag to create an open circular tube. The purpose of cutting the bag bottom out is to prevent air bubbles disrupting the ironing phase. Flatten this tube on the wax paper on the ironing board. Layer on more single-use plastic bags. I used 4 plastic bags to make one plastic “fabric” sheet. After you’re satisfied with the number of layers then you top it off with a final layer of wax paper.
  4. Now you’re ready to fuse your plastic bags together! Ready your iron and make sure the setting is not too hot. Press gently and keep moving your iron around. You will not need much heat to fuse the plastic bags together. If needed, flip the project over and iron from the back side as well. Check that you are only melting the plastics in between the wax papers. It’s okay if you find yourself accidentally melting the wax paper as well. Add more wax paper and continue ironing until all the plastic is fused together into one single sheet.
  5. Peel off the wax paper on either side.

Congratulations! You’ve just DIY fused single-use plastic bags together to create a stronger plastic material that is strong enough to carry stuff, water-resistant, and yet still soft enough to sew through your sewing machine if needed. Pat yourself on your shoulder for saving the Earth one plastic bag at a time.

Ready to turn your new plastic material into a bag?

When you’re ready… Part 2 is here for you.