Instructables

Could one insulate their attic and/or walls with those stupid plastic grocery bags...safely and effectively, that is?

I have switched to some awesome reusable bags I bought at Office Depot that have a little bag that clips onto your purse or belt-loop. But I joke to the grocery clerks (when they look at me funny when I hand them the bags and say no more plastic) that if I bring home 1 more plastic bag I'm going to drill a hole in my wall and start stuffing them in for insulation...my question is...Could I Do That? Safely first of all, but also effectively? This would be a HUGE find if it is...We could hit a planetary Royal Flush...Reducing our energy consumption by cheaply over-insulating our homes (an option that would make it possible for poor folk to take advantage too) AND getting those pesky bags off our streets, out of our oceans thereby reducing pollution and halting the devastating effects they have had on the sea life, AND reduce the space they take up in our landfills, PLUS with this as an alternative to having to turning them in, the current backlog of "recycled" bags piling up because this economic down slide reduces the amount of these goods that China is importing to turn into future landfill occupants. So can it be done?

lscrimgeour3 years ago
Yes, and not just with plastic bags. You can also reuse clean empty plastic bottles, clean food packaging, styrofoam packing materials, worn out neoprene or polypropylene clothing, bubble wrap, anything that is clean, not sharp, and not biodegradable. Instructions are here: http://www.packagingconnections.com/downloads/download132_0.pdf

Check with your local building codes though for issues around flammability, but as Gearhead 1951 said, straw bales are often used.
straw is also "highly flammable" But straw bale houses are legal, safe and VERY well insulated !! the secret is to COMPLETELY encapsulate the insulating material if it is "flammable" !! it would take a LOT of grocery store bags to insulate even a small house, but hen maybe that is a good thing !!
rickharris5 years ago
No - 1 insulation needs to trap air. the bags would squash flat. 2 The bags are made from PVC in a fire they would emmit toxic fumes. 3 Your fire insurance wouldn't like it.
Most grocery bags are actually made frome HDPE (recycling #2), which would not emit toxic fumes in a fire like PVC (recycling #3). But HDPE is indeed very highly flammable.
They don't squish flat, but fire resistance would be a huge problem.
frollard5 years ago
effectively, probably safely, no - its highly flammable.