How to Make Your Paper Bags Reusable

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Paper bags are considered to be eco-friendly packaging solutions. They can be reused - but you need the right paper bag design to ensure that its sustainability won’t be compromised.

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Last Updated on June 26, 2023 by Packoi Team

By design, you must be specific with the materials you’ll use. Also, the paper bags should give hints so customers can use the bag to practice sustainability.

In this article, you’ll learn more about that to ensure that your paper bags will be appropriately reused so they won’t add to the growing packaging waste.

Can a Paper Bag Be Reused?

If you think about the thick paper bags, they can be reused. You can use it to carry around items. Or you can use them to store stuff around the house.

Reusable Paper Bags

On the other hand, if you think about the brown paper bags used to replace grocery plastic bags, it seems like the answer is no. The material is too thin to be considered durable enough to be reused.

But you might be surprised – even the seemingly fragile brown paper bags can be reused.

Washable Paper

There’s also this new washable paper material that’s growing in popularity. This washable paper can be thrown in the washer and dried just like you would fabric. It is much better than plastic bags because the washable paper is very durable. The fact that they can be cleaned and reused adds to the appeal.

Although it looks and feels like leather, washable paper isn’t synthetic. It’s made of the cellulose that you can find in trees. So you can rest assured that washable paper is 100% sustainable.

Of course, this only works if you source your washable paper bag from responsibly managed forests. So make sure you source them from the right packaging supplier.

2 Basic Things that Can Make Paper Bags Reusable

If you want to reuse paper bags to reduce packaging waste, you need to consider 2 important things. These are very important if you want to create reusable bags.

Make Paper Bags Reusable

The Materials

The material of your paper bags will play a huge role in their reusability. Think about using washable paper. This will allow your customers to wash the bag so it’s clean when reusing.

But even if you don’t use washable paper, you can use the thick ones typically used as gift bags. This is durable enough to last several uses.

There’s one problem, though. What if you need a lightweight packaging solution like a plastic bag?

You can use a brown paper bag. These bags aren’t just recyclable. You can help your customers reuse brown paper bags with the right guidance.

This brings us to the next thing to make your paper bag reusable.

The Instructions

No matter what material, shape, form, or desired size your paper bag is, your customers need the right instructions if you want the bag to be sustainable.

Even if you make your packaging recyclable or reusable, it won’t matter if the customer doesn’t know how to follow through.

For instance, if you use washable paper, give the customer guidelines on how to wash the bag. Or you can give them instructions on how to reuse the brown paper bag. There are many ways to repurpose these brown bags so they won’t end up as waste.

Customers will be encouraged to follow if your instructions are clear and easy to follow.

10 Different Ways to Reuse Paper Bags 

Compared to plastic bags, there are many ways to reuse paper bags. Even if you’re not using washable paper, you can turn even brown paper into reusable bags.

Here are some ideas that you can do.

brown paper into reusable bags

Gift Bag

Paper bags, even those made of kraft paper, can be reused as gift bags. It can be repurposed if the bag has no tears or markings.

You can add ribbons, tags, and other decorations to make the paper bag look festive enough as a gift bag. If you’re using a plain brown bag, you can even use coloring materials and turn them into an art project. Do your design and make it look personal.

Gift Wrapper

If you’re giving fragile and breakable items, you must ensure your gift is secure in sturdy packaging. That means putting it in a brown paper bag won’t do.

You have to put it in a box. But you can use the paper bags as your wrapping paper. Even if it’s plain, you can add ribbons or twine to make it look more presentable. Add dried flowers or twigs to make the gift look eco-friendly.

Gift Tags

If the brown paper bags have a tear on them, that’s okay. Don’t be too quick to throw the paper bag yet.

You can cut them into beautiful shapes and turn them into personalized gift tags. What’s great about this is the plainness of the brown paper gives you a lot of room to be creative.

Not to mention the fact that it can be used for different occasions – birthdays, Christmas, etc.

Book Cover

Apart from being reused as wrapping paper, you can also use paper bags as book covers. Admittedly, this is only good for big bags. But if you’re crafty enough, you can put pieces of paper together so they can fit to be the cover of your book.

This is a great way to protect your books while being sustainable about it. There’s no need to use plastic to wrap them.

Decorative Piece

Many tutorials teach you how to transform paper bags into decorative pieces. You can compile these guidelines and put them on your website.

Then put the QR code or link to that web page so your customers can use them. That way, no paper bag will be thrown away. People can use it to decorate their houses or office spaces. It’s one way to promote sustainability and encourage people to practice it in their lives.


Paper bags can also be used as storage. If you have a sturdy paper bag that’s made of thick paperboard, it’s durable enough to be used as a container for smaller items.

But even if it’s made of brown paper, you can reinforce it by wrapping it around an old plastic container. This will make it durable enough to be used for storage. Since the outer part is made of paper, you can easily decorate it to look more visually appealing.

reused paper bags used for storage

Recycling Collector

Here’s one eco-friendly idea. Use paper bags to collect paper products that you want to recycle.

Brown bags are usually recyclable as well. Once it’s full, you can put everything in the recycling bin. Or if the bag is made of thicker material, you can just empty it and reuse it to collect more recyclables.


This is for thin brown paper bags. Research the composition of the bags before using this option. With the right material, you can turn paper bags into compost. 

Teach customers how to do it. They just have to shred it and ensure it’s not contaminated with non-biodegradable materials like plastic lamination. Then they can mix it with compost and put it in the soil.

This won’t just help with packaging waste. It can also enrich the soil around the properties of your customers. It’s a win-win situation.


This is a popular idea. You can give instructions on how to reuse brown paper bags as toys—something like a puppet.

But don’t stop there. You can also turn the bag into a mask. Or a paper doll. You can even 

Be resourceful and creative enough with the ideas. This could be a fun activity that a whole family can enjoy.

Placemats And Coasters

Paper bags can also be turned into placemats. You can cut the bags and use them as disposable placemats if there’s a party. This is a great idea for children’s parties because they can draw on them.

If you want them to be reusable, you can cut them into strips and weave them into placemats. This will take time for you to complete because you have to gather a lot of paper bags. But it should be worth it.

You can also create coasters to complete the look.

It’s Easy to Make Your Paper Bags Reusable. You’ll Find the Right Partner In Packoi Printing.

As you can see, there are many ways to design your paper bag into reusable materials for your customers. This is a great way to introduce them to the concept of a sustainable lifestyle.

Think about how you can make your paper bag reusable. If you need help, Packoi Printing is here to help. We can give you suggestions on how to make your packaging more sustainable.

We can start by talking about your ideas.

Get in touch with us so we can discuss your options. Call us, and we’ll get back to you with a fair quotation soon.

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Hey there, I’m Shelly!

I really enjoy the packaging and printing industry because my work makes my clients’ products more beautiful and enjoyable. If you have any questions about packaging and printing, feel free to contact me!

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