The Potato Chip Bag and Other Snack Bags

By Liesl Clark

Potato chip bags are something we’ve all handled and then thrown into the trash. If your conscience has you wondering if there are alternatives to sending that bag into the landfill, you’ve come to the right place.

potato chip bag, Photo © Liesl Clark

One option for diverting your snack bags from the landfill or incinerator is to start a chip bag brigade (or find an existing one in your community) through Terracycle. The bags are turned into items like reusable tote bags and if you’re done with  your tote, you can even send it back to Terracycle to be repurposed again! The trick is to collect about 8-lbs-worth of Lays’ bags and if those aren’t your favorite brand you’re a bit out of luck.

DIY Plastic-Free Potato Chips, photo Rebecca Rockefeller

Reduce Your Use:  Of course, the ultimate solution to preventing more snack bags from entering our materials economy, or landfills, is to make your own easy microwave chips using Rock Farmer’s simple method. If you want an oil-free recipe with a few more steps, give this one from theKitchn a try.

Reuse and Repurpose:

1) Use your bags as gift bags! Turn your chip bag inside out, wash it with dish soap to get rid of any grease. Dry it out. Then reuse the silvery or white side as a mylar-style gift bag. We do this all the time and reuse them over and over. We just attach some pretty ribbon like these pictured here which we found on the beach (no kidding) hanging beneath  a deflated helium balloon all twisted up in seaweed. These ribbons last forever, they’re made of plastic, and look as good as new even after years of floating in the open sea. I’ve picked up so many of them on the beach, I’ve had occasion to Freecyle a bag of them, with the caveat that the person agree to keep the ribbons on indoor gifts and not set them free with a helium balloon. When you’ve seen them wrapped around the necks of baby seals and sea turtles, you can’t help reconsider why we risk sending them into our seas via floating balloons in the first place. But I digress.

Turn a chip bag into a gift bag, Photo: Liesl Clark

2) Make a tote bag. Some chip bags have a cool vintage look to them and could make a great shoulder bag.

3) Make a gum wrapper-style chain bracelet. Remember making paper chains from gum-wrappers? If you employ the same method with chip bags and candy wrappers, you can craft some amazing things. First step is making a bracelet.

4) And when you’ve mastered the gum wrapper-style bracelet, you’re ready to move on to the purse.

5) Craftbits has a tutorial for a nice clutch.

6) Make a potato chip bag mini scrap book. At making-mini-scrapbooks.com, you’ll learn how to make your own cool books that would also make excellent gifts for friends.

Mini Potato Chip Bag Scrapbook, Photo © making-mini-scrapbooks.com

7) Instructables has a tutorial for a chip bag wallet.

8) Craft a baby crinkly square to appeal to baby’s need for tactile and aural stimulation. We think a snack bag would make some good crinkly sounds for your little one.

Baby Crinkly Squares Can Be Made With Potato Chip Bags, Photo © Joy’sHope.com

Remember the Sunchip compostable bags and how loud they were (95 db)? Maybe stay away from those. They’ve been discontinued, apparently, but consumers certainly had fun with the deafening chip bags. Even a Facebook group was started, called SORRY, BUT I CAN’T HEAR YOU OVER THIS SUNCHIPS BAG. We were excited to see that compostable snack bags were being tested on the market, yet when we did our own compost test of the Sunchip bags in a commercial composter for a month, the bags, surprisingly, were still intact — no decomposition visible.

9) Make an adorable robot from the silvery side of your bag.

10) Yet another Instructable. This time it’s a pencil case.

11) Cover over an old bracelet with delightful snack bag colors to make a new one!

12) Make party tassels!

Still looking for more ideas? Visit our app for great reduce, reuse, recycle ideas for just about everything. Type in your item and see what you can do with it!

Click Through for More Snack Bag Reuses at Trash Backwards

Do you have a snack bag reuse to add to the list? Please let us know in the comments below or through our add-your-idea page.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Best of Trash Backwards, DIY, Reduce Your Use, Repurpose and Reuse, Trash Pile - All Our Stuff, Upcycle

Connect:

Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

11 Comments on “The Potato Chip Bag and Other Snack Bags”

  1. August 16, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    http://www.greensburggreentown.org/home/2012/8/14/some-recycling-tips-you-might-not-know-about-1.html
    I just read this today and discovered that the compostable bags and paper cups can last as long as plastic in the compost pile, and may produce more methane. :-( Boooooo!
    Thanks for the microwave chip recipe; it may help me to free my husband from his bagged chips. Meanwhile, we can reuse the bags per your ideas! We’ve been using the wax bags from inside cereal boxes to pack our lunches and wrap our sandwiches.

  2. August 17, 2012 at 7:06 am #

    Thanks for including my bracelets! I made them for my daughter, Willow, and she ALWAYS gets compliments.
    I want to try the microwave chip recipe–I’ve never heard of that before! :-)
    Kelly
    ReStitch Me

  3. September 5, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    Thanks for linking to my Laura Scudders Retro style shoulder bag. i make a lot of these and people are always asking me to make one for them (which I rarely do lol cuz I just enjoy making them). At the moment I’m turning a splatter paint design shower curtain into a rifle bag for my daughter to carry her color guard rife in sling-back fashion under her backpack. Now that’s an interesting project! LOL

  4. November 29, 2012 at 10:48 am #

    I run a TerraCycle Chip bag brigade in Westford, Massachusetts. In less 2 1/2 years, we have upcycled over 87,000 chip bags! That is just one town! I don’t believe there are any openings currently in the chip bag brigade, but anyone who would like to start their own or contribute to an existing collection, feel free to contact me.

    • Liesl Clark
      November 29, 2012 at 12:24 pm #

      Hi Kristina! I love love love your blog. Thanks for getting in touch and for offering up your help in providing advice to anyone interested in starting a Terracycle Brigade.
      – Liesl

  5. timelesslady
    January 13, 2014 at 11:33 am #

    So many outstanding ideas here…I’ll be back

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The gift of garbage: A first-timer tries her hand at ‘upcycling’ | Grist - October 25, 2012

    [...] this: Turned inside out, cat treat bags (and bags that hold chips or other snacks) actually make pretty impressive gift bags. Even better, foil-lined coffee bags can morph into curly ribbon decorations. Now there’s a craft [...]

  2. The gift of garbage: A first-timer tries her hand at ‘upcycling’ | "Global Possibilities" - October 28, 2012

    [...] this: Turned inside out, cat treat bags (and bags that hold chips or other snacks) actually make pretty impressive gift bags. Even better, foil-lined coffee bags can morph into curly ribbon decorations. Now there’s a craft [...]

  3. Mapping Plastic: The First Days of Our Journey « Trash Backwards - November 12, 2012

    [...] bottle caps, styrofoam chunks, earplugs, construction zone tape (37 feet), fireworks, pvc piping, snack food bags & wrappers, plastic drink bottles, styrofoam food trays, tape, and 209 feet of marine rope. We’ve [...]

  4. 10 Tips to Make Your Super Bowl Sunday Sustainable « Trash Backwards - January 29, 2013

    [...] chip experience, unless you have access to a Terracycle Chip Brigade. But chip bags make excellent re-purposed gift bags. Just turn them inside-out, wash the oil off, dry them, cut off the top with some shaped scissors [...]

  5. 25 Snack Hack Chip Bag Reuses | Trash Backwards - April 22, 2013

    [...] are some obvious reuses for chip and snack bags, like turning the silver side into wrapping paper. But our readers are looking for more. Since they can’t be recycled, except through a few [...]

What can you add? Please share your ideas.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,425 other followers

%d bloggers like this: