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5 More Things To Do with Paper Bags

From drying herbs to recycling your newspaper, these five cool new ways to use paper bags are sure to come in handy.

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Paper is better than plastic when it comes to the environment, and many stores still give you the option of requesting paper bags. Check out these five creative ways to use paper bags around your home:

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1. Dry Your Herbs

To dry fresh herbs, first wash each plant under cold water and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Make sure the plants are completely dry before you proceed to reduce the risk of mold. Take five or six plants, remove the lower leaves, and place them upside down inside a large paper bag. Gather the end of the bag around the stems and tie it up. Punch a few holes in the bag for ventilation, then store it in a warm, dry area for at least two weeks. Once the plants have dried, inspect them carefully for any signs of mold. If you find any, toss out the whole bunch. You can grind them up, once you’ve removed the stems, with a rolling pin or a full soda bottle, or keep them whole to retain the flavour longer. Store the dry herbs in airtight containers and away from sunlight.

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Damian Palus/Shutterstock

2. Bag Your Recycled Newspaper

Double up your recycling efforts by using large paper bags to hold your newspapers for collection. It not only spares you the time and effort need to tie up your bundles with string, but it also makes it easier to sort out your magazines, newsprint and glossy pages.

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3. Make Your Own Wrapping Paper

Need to wrap a present in a hurry? You don’t have to rush out to buy wrapping paper. Just cut a large paper bag along the seams until it’s a flat rectangle. Position it so that any printing is facing up at you, put your gift on top and fold, cut and tape the paper around the gift. If you wish, personalize your homemade wrapping paper by decorating it with markers, paint or stickers.

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4. Cover Your Kids Textbooks

Helping your children make book covers for their textbooks isn’t only fun, it’s also a subtle way to teach kids to respect public property. And few materials rival a paper bag when it comes to making a rugged book cover. First, cut the bag along its seams to make it a flat, wide rectangle, then place the book in the center. Fold in the top and bottom edges so the bag is only slightly wider than the book’s height. Next, fold over the sides to form sleeves over the book covers. Cut off the excess, leaving a couple of inches on either side to slide over the front and back covers. Put a piece of masking tape on the top and bottom of each sleeve (over the paper, not the book) to keep it on tight, and you’re done. Lastly, let you child put his or her personal design on each cover.

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5. Store Mushrooms

Remove the store-bought mushrooms from their mesh packaging and place them in a paper bag inside your refrigerator to keep them fresh for up to five days.

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