DIY: Get rid of plastic lining, make your own newspaper garbage bags

No more excuses to get plastic bags at the supermarket! Here’s a quick and simple newspaper garbage bag you can make at home.


A lot of people take plastic bags at a store for the sole purpose of ‘re-using’ them as garbage bags. What if you could make a bin liner out of newspaper, it’s cheaper, good for the earth and easier for the animals at the dump (who end up ingesting it).

The idea is adapted from a Brazilian video. It is simpler and doesn’t follow precise Origami.

Great for:

Bathrooms (sanitary waste), home rejects (hair, dust that is swept etc which cannot go into recyclable or compostable waste).

Don’t expect it to hold for very wet or heavy waste.

What you need:

– Two sheets of newspaper (for a small bin liner) or 4 sheets for a large bin liner

– Glue

How to make it: Small bins

1. Pile two sheets of newspaper over each other

2. Fold across the largest diagonal you can make on the sheets (see crease in the next picture)

3. Once you have a triangle plus a tiny bit sticking out, tuck it into the triangular bit

4. Fold the ends in


5. At this point, you could use the gum to stick these ends together. Pull the flap down, you could glue it too

6. and we’re done!

Paper Garbage bag in use

How to make it: Large bins

Follows the same steps as above, but starts with a mesh of 4 sheets of paper

1. Arrange 4 sheets of newspaper to be overlapping

2. Use gum to stick loose ends to make it like one large sheet of paper

3. Fold across diagonal, fold that rectangular bit and tuck it into the rest of the triangle

4. Fold the ends in, and the top triangular bit (and secure with gum again).

5. Open up and line your bin with it

6. When it’s time to throw out your garbage, glue/staple the top triangular bit.. Your garbage should look like this:

Let 2014 be your year of doing and doing more with less! Got other innovative ideas around lining bins? Let us know by writing to contribute@thealternative.in.


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  • Paper is better

    The idea is good, but the article has a somewhat confusing set of instructions. Additional annotations on the photos and/or more photos would help make it clearer.

  • Chetan S Garalapur

    Correct me if am wrong….the newspaper has printing ink which contain lead etc and i feel its harmful for animals. Even at a landfill th elead and other chemicals might leach into groundwater.

    I feel we should be able to find even better alternative

    • Irene

      Hi Chetan,

      I was worried about this too, a lot of searching online told me black ink is mostly carbon black,

      “Carbon black is the standard ink used for newspapers. Carbon black is comprised of carbon black, oil, miscellaneous ingredients for anti-misting and low-rub, and paraffin distillates for quick dry. Many colored inks contain the same basic ingredients except pigments replace the carbon black for the desired color. This fact sheet addresses primarily the carbon black inks because these are most commonly used in daily newspapers.” SOURCE: http://ohioline.osu.edu/cd-fact/0122.html

      I also use newspaper in my Kambha (Daily Dump) and compost pits (it’s recommended mulch too) – at any rate, better than the chemicals that leach out of plastic bags

  • Chetan S Garalapur

    Thanks for the link and will surely gather more info on it. My idea would be to grow a canna in the backyard and improvise on using the leaves as garbage bags

  • Mita Tarafder

    I have innovated Green Garbage Bags using newspapers, cloth, gum, etc. You may like to see this link:https://www.facebook.com/groups/greengarbagebag/

    On line order may be given here: http://goo.gl/hvWb8m

  • Mita Tarafder

    The ink of newspapers is soya based which is not harmful.