Reusable Recycling Bag

I remember on the old site someone talking about making reusable trash bags, and I had commented that I would like to make reusable bags for my recycling. Then, that idea just sat there for what seems like forever.

Well, not anymore.

Today, I purchased a couple yards of 0this fun outdoor bird material (because, birds!) and figured I’d be able to make one or two bags.

I came home and got a plastic 13 gallon trash bag for a guide and measured it. Then I added an inch and a half to encase the paracord I bought for the drawstring.

I cut the fabric, then notched out a small section on each end so I don’t sew closed my paracord encasing. Then, I sewed that part first. I sewed it with the paracord in my fold with clips so I didn’t have to guide it through afterwards, then sewed the seams.

I cut out 2.5" square on each bottom to give it a boxy bottom, and then voila! I added a metal cord stop to each side of my bag and sewed a square stop to encase both loose ends of the paracord (like you would a visible zipper end).

I have visible raw seams, but this is my practice run and I wanted to be sure the size was correct and it would work. I want to probably make about 4 more because while we can put all types of recycling together in one bag, our recycling drop off location has asked us to empty the bags and not just throw the bags in their collection site. We had been reusing the plastic bags, but these should last longer and be washable. Anyway, now that I know the size and style works, I will make the next ones more polished. I’m pretty excited the lid still fits! (not shown, so just trust me on this!)

also, the fabric is more blue than purple in real life


That’s neat that you can do that!
Our recycling is picked up at our driveway and we have to use the clear plastic bags which have become harder to find.
It drives me crazy how much unnecessary plastic surrounds us and we have too little say in it being there. It makes me made how much is produced without any real thought and plan for it to be recycled. We’re killing our planet with this stuff!
Kudos to you for your great reusable recycling bag!!

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cute fabric…and looks like it fits well! You could do french seams easily with that design or use a zig zag…for what you are using it for, I think you are fine! The enclosing of the paracord like a zipper is a really good idea!

We have a huge container that is supplied by the city for our recycling…no plastic bags allowed. Inside the house, we have a similar container like yours but we just dump from there into the big container.

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I really like this idea! I never remember to leave enough time in the morning to put my recycling bin out (we’re not supposed to put it out the night before), so I tend to go to the recycling center on the weekend. I keep a tall kitchen trash can in the kitchen for my recycling, so I’m guessing your bag would be about the right size. Then, instead of lugging the trash can with me, I can just take the bag.

My city is looking for an alternative to the open bins that we currently have, because trash blows all over the neighborhood (wouldn’t be as bad if people didn’t put it out the night before… just sayin’) and the put for the “clear, recyclable, plastic bag” idea out to the community and opposition was swift and vocal. I like my small bin, but wish it had a cover. Large, wheeled bins were deemed impractical (we have a lot of 3-decker homes that don’t have space to store multiple bins). So for now, I’m happy to make the trips to the recycling center. But, it closes from November to May, and these bags would make a more attractive way for me to store them over the winter (or until I remember to put out the bin!).

The next time I get some tall kitchen trash bags (we have to buy special city bags), I’m going to measure one for this express purpose! Such a great idea!

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This should probably work for you because I also keep a tall kitchen bag for recycling in my house and then when it is full we take it to the garage where we store it in a larger wheeled trash can until we have the time to take it to the recycling drop off or we get too much stored up and we make the trip!

Excellent! Thanks for letting me know! I really like how you did your drawstring, too. Both the method for stitching the casing and for finishing the ends. :slight_smile:

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We’re fortunate to have a wheeled and covered bin that is picked up once a week, so I’m one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to make a trip to dispose of recycling items.

That being said, this bag is very smart, and looks great, too!


We are the same, @Bunny1kenobi. This is a smart idea for apartments and for places that don’t have those bins.

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What a great problem solver project! And pretty, too!

great job on finally getting your vision completed! this is a good idea. Like others I have a big wheeled bin that they pick up every other week. but I have a smaller bin in the kitchen that I empty into the big bin when its full. it’s a bit of an eye sore. this would be a nice thing to use.

oh that would drive me nuts! we can put out the day before. I would never remember to do it in the morning either.

What makes it worse is that we’re one of the first streets collected, so I have to get up extra early to do it. Sometimes, they come at 7 am! I really have a lot piled up on my porch, so I need to make a big effort to get up early on Monday to get it done. The recycling center is still closed for drop-offs. Hopefully it opens soon!

I do have a fabric in mind to use to for the bags (if I still have it). It’s from an old shower curtain. I should have enough to make two, I hope.

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I’m making my second right now! It’s combining this fabric and black duck cloth!

Can you share your measurements? It might be a while before I buy trash bags (I have plenty on hand right now… but they’re the big size).

I have 26 1/2 height (which includes folding over and sewing a 1 1/2 inch pocket for the paracord (or just keep measurement and sew a pocket to the top like I am on this one) and 24 /12 inch wide. Cut 2 1/2 in squares on bottom corners to box them. Then cut your paracord as long as you want it. I am trying 36" each side this time.

attempting a visual

<…24 1/2 "wide…>
…add in your paracord strap right at top!
26 1/2 " tall

Great! Thank you! I’ll see how those measurements compare to the trash can I have. I always have a hard time figuring out the corner boxing measurements.