Recycling plastic grocery bags and plastic shopping bags is nothing really new, but I like to do my recycling without smelling up my environment. If you merely return your bags to your local grocer for recycling, they will melt them down to make new bags. This emits more pollution into the air. I have also discovered that fusing plastic bags with an iron releases noxious fumes into your home and I don't think that's any better. So, in come the scissors.
Step 1: Lay Out a Plastic Bag.
The best bags for this are the really thin ones you get from the chain grocers and places like Walmart. The thicker ones are more difficult to work with.
Lay out a plastic bag, tucking in the side seams and smoothing the bag flat. It doesn't have to be perfect.
Step 2: Cut Off Very Bottom of Bag With Scissors.
Cut off the bottom edge of the plastic bag with scissors. Make sure your scissors are sharp as dull scissors will not work very well to cut plastic bags.
Step 3: Fold Bag.
Fold bag lengthwise, as pictured.
Step 4: Cut Folded Bag Into Strips.
Now, cut the folded bag into strips that are about 1 and 1/2 inches wide. You don't have to be perfect on this either. It's just a guideline, so there's no need to haul out that nasty, little ruler.
Keep it simple.
Step 5: Unfold One of the Cut Strips and Begin Joining.
Unfold one of the cut strips. You need to be careful here because they will sometimes tear on the fused seam.
Grab a second cut strip and unfold it. Loop it around your thumb and index finger and hold the rest of it in your fist.
Step 6: Continued Bag Joining.
Bring the loop in your right hand over the loop strip in your left hand.(The 1st pic in this step.)
While maintaining the loop in your right hand, grasp the strip from your left hand and pull it partially through the loop in your right hand. (The 2nd & 3rd pics in this step.)
Step 7: Finish the Bag Joining & Snug the Knot.
Grasp the other end of the strip that was passed through the loop in your right hand with your left thumb and index finger. (2nd & 3rd pics in this step)
Draw the part you've pinched in your left hand through the loop on your left wrist. Continue pulling the knot tight. (4th, 5th, & 6th pics in this step)
Here is a short video of how it works:
Step 8: Finish Joining Bag Loops & Begin Crocheting.
Continue joining bag loops until you've used up all your bags.
The resulting yarn is best crocheted with a size K crochet hook (or larger). See the pics in this step to see how I started crocheting a door mat and then continued adding strips to the end of the 'yarn' to continue crocheting.
Step 9: Finished Crocheted Shopping Bag.
These are pics of a shopping bag made from 124 recycled grocery bags, all from the same store.
The pattern for this bag can be found at: <http://orangeflower.typepad.com/orange_flower/2008/02/crochet-basket.html>
I have been informed that the afore mentioned link is no longer valid. Please try this one: http://chickpeastudio.typepad.com/chickpea_sewing_studio/2008/02/the-little-croc.html
I crocheted my round until it had 64 stitches around. I then kept crocheting those 64 stitches in the round until I wanted to do my handles.
When you get to the point where you want the handles: Place marker and single crochet 7 sts, chain 18, count 18sts from where you did the 7th single crochet and slip stitch to here. Single crochet 14 stitches. Chain 18. Count 18sts from where you stopped the 14th single crochet and slip stitch to here. Single crochet 7sts. Join with a slip stitch to Beginning Single crochet (by marker). Chain 1 and turn. Do at three more rounds like this for strong bag handles.
Remember you're carrying groceries in this.