Each time I visited our compost piles, I saw ripped and falling apart tarps.  It was definitely time to find something to replace our torn and tattered tarps.   

During the winter, we heat our house with wood pellets.  The pellets come in plastic bags, which hold 40 lbs each.  My husband has been saving them for me, and they've piled up over the winter.  The bags are very heavy, and I knew I'd find something to do with them.  Yesterday, after my visit to the compost pile, I decided I'd sew some together to make some replacement tarps.  The pellet bags worked perfectly. 

I used five bags for each tarp.  I cut along the opened end to even them off.   Then, I cut them open so they'd be one layer and lay flat.  There was a little spot at the bottom of each bag (where the bags were pleated and seamed together) that I had to cut apart and patch with a small piece of plastic.  I took the bags to the sewing machine and started stitching.   Ten bags and about a half hour later, I had two tarps that fit the compost areas perfectly.  :-)

As many of you know, it's suggested that compost be covered with black plastic.  I've never used black, and our compost has always broken down.  Any plastic will help heat garbage and help it to break down.  Each year, we get one or two big wheelbarrows full of compost, and there's only two of us. Composting is very rewarding. 

I also used the pellet bags to make bags for shipping items through the mail.  I use my rotary cutter and self-healing mat to cut the bags into smaller rectangles.  Then, I sew along the the edges, so three sides are closed.  Before mailing, the bags are washed clean and the printing is turned to the inside, then the address label is applied.  Items are placed in a plastic grocery bag or wrapped in bubblewrap before mailing.  

Making mailing bags is a great money saver and an excellent way to reuse some of the plastics that takes soooooo long to break down in landfills.  Do you have ideas to share?  I'd love to hear about your recycling/upcycling practices.