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15 Uses for Brown Paper Grocery Bags

Recycle Them Instead of Just Throwing Them Away

Kassidy Emmerson
When you visit your grocery store, do you ask for plastic or paper? Brown paper grocery bags aren't as popular as they once were, but they are still used by grocery stores and other businesses as well.
Once you get them home, what do you do with your paper grocery bags? The average brown paper grocery bag is twelve inches high, seven inches deep, and seventeen inches tall. They are an ample size for a variety of uses around your home that you may not know about!
For example, have you ever made popcorn in a paper bag? All you have to do, to enjoy a tasty treat, is place a handful of popcorn kernels in a bag. Roll down the top and place the brown bag in a low wattage microwave oven. But make sure the bag does not touch the microwave walls! Microwave the bag for a few minutes and then remove it from the oven. Enjoy!
2. Do you work at night and sleep in the daytime? A second use is to cover up the windows in your bedroom with brown paper bags. The bags will help keep the light out so you can sleep better.
3. Paper bags make great party hats for the kids too! Simply cut a bag into large squares with a pair of scissors. Fold the squares into party hats and glue or tape the sides shut. Then, pass them out at your next kid's party and let them go wild decorating them!
4. How many times have you gone out to the garden to pick some veggies, and found that you don't have enough hands? Take some brown paper grocery bags out to the garden with you and use them as produce totes.
5. Are you a crafty person? If you are, you can cut paper bags into long, slender strips. Then, weave the strips together to make a placemat or basket.
6. If you're like me, you pick large, green tomatoes out of the garden before the birds can peck them up. Then, to ripen them up, place the tomatoes in a paper bag. Roll down the top and place them in a cool, dry area. Check them every couple days. Within a week, the tomatoes will turn bright red and ripe!
7. Before you start to prepare vegetables in the kitchen, lay a brown paper bag on your work area.
Peel and pare your produce on the bag. Then when you're done, you'll have no mess! Just lift up the sides of the bag, crumple them together, and toss the mess away.
8. Do you need a large envelope to send something in the mail? Grab a paper bag and cut the bottom off. Cut the remaining tube of paper open and fold the sides down to the size you need.
Glue or tape the sides together and your new envelope is ready to use.
9. You can also use brown paper grocery bags to wrap up items you're going to send through the mail or via FedEx, UPS, et cetera. Just be sure to use regulation strapping tape to hold the package together
10. Candles can be found in most households nowadays, maybe even yours! Don't worry if a little candle wax drips onto your carpet. Scrape up as much as you can. Next, place a brown paper bag on the wax and run a warm iron over it. The absorbent bag will lift up the melted wax it!
11. If you run out of wrapping paper, you can always use brown paper bags to wrap gifts with. The brown paper is rather boring looking, but you can let the kids decorate the package. You can even cut strips of a bag to make a bow too!
12. Did you know you can make a bowl by using a brown paper bag? Cut a paper bag into thin strips. Fill a round balloon up with air and tie it off. Use a general white glue, such as Elmer's©, to fasten the paper strips onto the balloon. After the glue has dried, cut the top off the balloon. Paint it in whatever colors you like, and you have a decorative bowl!
13. Cut a brown paper grocery bag into sheets by using a pair of scissors. Then, use the sheets to line your cupboards or drawers!
14. Have you ever made luminaries? They look awesome when you use them to line your sidewalk or driveway. To do this, you'll need several brown paper bags. Cut out shapes and designs in the sides of the bags. Then, pour a couple inches of sand in the bottom of each bag. Set a candle into the sand in each bag. Place the bags along your sidewalk or driveway at night Carefully light the candles and you'll have created a gorgeous display of light!
15. Do the kids need covers for their school books? Get out some brown paper bags and let them make their own! They'll need to cut the bottoms off the bags. Then, have them cut the bags down the sides to open them up. They should lay their book on the middle of the bag. Then, pull up the sides, fold the paper around the book, and tape the edges together.

Published by Kassidy Emmerson
Since Kassidy Emmerson became a professional freelance writer in 2000, she’s had thousands of digital articles published, and more in print publications. She started contributing material to Associated Con...  View profile


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Here Is Where You Can Find Vermiculite

Mel Bartholomew

I just visited my local Home Depot store and believe it or not, there, stacked on the shelf, were those big familiar tan bags of coarse vermiculite, 2 cubic feet each, for a good price of around $20. 
Here Is Where You Can Find Vermiculite
I’ve seen it elsewhere at $24 and $26.
So call your local H.D. store and ask for this product. Ask them to make sure it’s the 2 cubic foot size and it’s the coarse grade (sometimes they carry the medium grade, so be careful: we want the coarse). Get their price and then reserve any number of bags in your name. Then pick it up at your convenience.
If you don’t want to call, you can go online and search for vermiculite. If they are out of stock or don’t carry it, call their telephone number, ask for the store manager. Tell him what you want, why you want it, for your Square Foot Garden Mel’s Mix (ask him to make sure it’s coarse grade) and if all goes well, he’ll get it ordered and in the store for you. Since it’s in some of their stores, there’s no reason why they can’t have it in all of their stores.
Another idea to help you obtain it is, if they don’t have it, ask them to search all surrounding Home Depot stores and find out what other Home Depot store does and then at your request, they will have any number of bags shipped to your local store, saved in your name and you can pick it up at your convenience. One last request: if you don’t need it right now, please call your local store anyway, as a favor to Square Foot Gardening, just to see if they have it. We have got to get this material in the local stores. That is our most often asked question: where can I get vermiculite? And the most often given complaint: that we can’t find it anywhere. So please help everyone in the SFG movement and at least call your H.D. store, but if you have a little time, call all your local nurseries as well as some of the other big box stores. They will respond to customer calls and complaints and you will help us immensely. (

People have had problems finding vermiculite because of two reasons:

In the early 1990's the W.R. Grace Company closed its mine in Libby, Montana and over 20 processing plants located across the country. As a result, there are many regions where there simply isn't a local vermiculite processing plant.

Because of a lot of bad publicity about Libby and the Libby vermiculite mine, most of the larger "box stores" no longer stock and supply vermiculite.
Nevertheless, vermiculite continues to be used by professional pool contractors, by large greenhouse growers, by industrial fireproofing manufacturers and applicators, by installers of insulation, by industrial manufacturers and commercial businesses.

Unfortunately, homeowners and hobbyist have had problems find sources for relatively small quantities, and so this site has been designed to try to help them find and purchase vermiculite.

We've tried to organize this site by basic areas of interest and/or by applications for which vermiculite would be used. If you have suggestions on other ways to organize this site, or would like to add listings, please contact us. (See address and contact information at the bottom of this page.)

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Intensive Urban Gardening

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