Plastic pollution is a real problem in our world...

Coastline with stat that 8 million tons of plastic waste leak into the ocean every year.

One of the main sources of plastic pollution is plastic bags. In the U.S., people use an average of 365 plastic bags per year. That's 1 bag every day!

These bags often end up in landfills, taking 500-1,000 years to break down. Even then, they don't decompose fully. Instead, they break down into smaller and smaller pieces of the bag called microplastics.

To try and do our part in avoiding this fate for our bags, many people recycle their bags in bins at stores. Unfortunately, even these recycling collections of bags don't make it to recycling centers.

Bird in water pulling out a fish covered in a plastic bag. "Fewer than one in seven plastic bags are recycled."

You can make a difference by reusing and repurposing plastic bags!

What can we do?

Alana from Broad city sits in a cafe with a child in front of two coffee cups. She says,

Recycling is a great idea, but the video below shows what happened when a news team tracked bags in a recycling bin:

Since we can't fully rely on recycling bags, focus on reducing, reusing, and repurposing them!


  • Bring baskets or reusable cloth bags with you when you shop.

  • Don't take a bag if you can carry the items without one.

  • Use as few bags as possible if you do need to use them.

  • Reuse the plastic bags you have! Remember, they were meant to be reusable in the first place.


Get crafty! There are endless opportunities for plastic bags:

  • jump rope

  • basket

  • flower pot

  • coaster

  • sleeping mat

  • tote

  • decorations

  • kite

  • hammock

  • dog leash

  • outdoor pillow insert

  • trash can

Check out more ideas from Artsy Craft Mom and DIYnCrafts or come up with your own great ideas!


Taking your grocery bag to the mall to put your new clothes in is an example of _______.

Let's Start Repurposing!

Plastic Bags + Yarn = Plarn

Plarn, or plastic yarn, is the first step to creating an unlimited number of projects with your plastic bags.

Watch the video below to learn how:

Also, check out this step-by-step image guide from Brooklyn Refinery to help you:

Plarn instructions 1: fold twice, cut with scissors, throw away handles, unfold strips. Plarn instructions 2: loop unfolded strips together.

A few tips from my experience:

  1. Use sharp scissors.

  2. Use an old wrapping paper tube to wrap plarn around as you make it.

  3. Work on a hard, flat surface.

  4. Sort by color first, if you want.

  5. Cut first, and sort strips vs. scraps (the handles and bottoms of the plastic bags, which can't be used).

  6. Attach and wrap after you've cut a lot of strips.

Use your new "plarn!"

The fun part!

Reduce, Reuse, Craftcycle; scissors, glue gun, spool of thread or yarn

Get creative and start "craftcycling" (crafting + recycling = craftcycling).

You can follow almost any crochet or knitting pattern for bags, coasters, bottle holders, soap holders, dish scrubs, flower pots, leashes, ropes, etc. to use your plarn to save the planet (and make something cool).

Here are some of my favorites:

Check out some projects I've made:

A water bottle holder with a carrying strap, made with plarn.

A wine bottle gift bag made with plarn.

Take Action

An animation depicting a hot air balloon made from a plastic bag. The bag's text reads,

Our planet will thank you for your craftcycling!


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