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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.