How to make kitchen rubbish bags from newspaper

No more plastic bags for kitchen rubbish at our place. I know it looks like some sort of remedial craft activity but honestly I made a month’s supply while watching a movie, so that’s pretty easy. Homemade flour & water glue too.
Attached to the fridge with magnetic clips

Plastic bags are a problem

  • Choking waterways & killing aquatic animals
  • Not breaking down at the dump
  • Stopping decomposition of contents eg loaves of shop bread have remained intact for years
  • Air pollution if burnt at the dump
  • Energy & resources in manufacture

Plastic bags are really useful, but I think they should be kept for important applications, not rubbish and shopping.

Plastic supermarket bags used to be handy for organizing kitchen rubbish, but what to do now we use cloth shopping bags?

What goes into kitchen rubbish bags? Not compostible material or recyclable packaging, but mainly little bits of plastic such as sachets, cheese wrappers, peel-off safety topper from vegemite, etc

We tried biofilm kitchen tidy bags made from potato starch, but even when I bought them in bulk they were a bit expensive at 30c each for a throwaway item. And what about the energy and resources (and probably C emissions) involved in producing them? I bought 3 years’ supply to bring down the price to 30c each. However, the bags began to self-destruct before I’d used them up. I really wanted to find a better way.

Chris told me about the banana seller at the markets who created bags for his product using newspaper sheets stitched together. This idea inspired me to experiment with newspaper and I came up with a design that is quick and easy – and of course cheap and environmentally sound.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Take 2 sheets of tabloid newspaper or 1 folded broadsheet newspaper page
  2. Fold over the top edge about 2 cm
  3. Turn the whole lot over and fold into 3
  4. Turn up the bottom about 2cm
  5. Slap on glue with a large paint brush – on all seams, across the bottom & up the centre
  6. Put your hand down inside to be sure the front of the bag isn’t sticking to the back.
  7. Put aside to dry.


Q  Doesn’t the bag break with sloppy rubbish?

A  I can’t think of anything really wet going into our rubbish bags, but if it ever happens I guess that will be the time to take the sloppy thing straight out to the wheelie bin.

Q  Doesn’t it take a long time to make enough bags for every day use?

A  One bag seems to last 2 days at our place. I can make 15 bags while watching one movie on TV – that’ll last us a month!

What glue to use?

I used flour & water paste which is easy to make at home. There are easy stove-top methods you can find if you search the internet, or I used the Thermomix and my Mum gave me her easy microwave recipe. I’ve offered both here:

Flour & Water paste –  THERMOMIX
150g boiling water from kettle – pour into TMX
1/5cup cornflour +1/5 cup warm water – mix by hand in a separate bowl
Set TMX say 5 min at 100deg on speed 2
With the water boiling, pour cornflour mixture slowly into top of TMX
Cook 1 1/2 mins 100deg speed 3-6, scraping sides, REPEAT
Finish with faster whiz, speed 7 for a few seconds

Flour & Water paste – MICROWAVE
2/3 cup of water – put in the microwave to boil.
1 dessertspoon plain flour – mix with a little cold water to make a paste
Stir paste into boiled water.
Cook 30 secs in the microwave to thicken up – watch so it doesn’t boil over
Note – experiment with the quantities. If it is lumpy – press through a strainer.



Here is a newpaper bag sitting in a plastic bucket on my Mum’s kitchen bench. She uses it for scraps and peelings, then it makes an easy parcel to lob into her compost bin from up high on the bridge outside her kitchen door. This is because she has her bin down in the garden, with a rope to pull up the lid.

5 thoughts on “How to make kitchen rubbish bags from newspaper”

  1. Hey, this looks great! Love the idea, I could use these in the bathroom and laundry if I could find the right clips. And then retrain the kids

  2. Good, Ali. You wouldnt put in sloppy stuff. I know you also have a compost bin for that. Love, Mum

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