6 Reuse ideas for builders merchants bulk bags – in the garden

Filed in Blog, Reuse by on December 14, 2015 6 Comments
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reuse ideas for bulk builders merchants bagsThe construction industry generates over 100 million tonnes of waste every year.

And our Zero Waste community are on it!

This week they shared these fabulous tips for reusing builders merchants bulk bags – the sort you get sand or gravel delivered in.


Bulk bags would make instant compost heaps! Put a layer of sticks and twigs in the bottom, add some soil or old compost that is full of worms and start layering your greens and browns. Give it a stir every now and then and in a few months time you’ll have some free compost.

Raised beds

Builders bags are the perfect size for raised beds. Put drainage material in the bottom, fold over the sides and fill with compost or soil. Last year I grew potatoes in mine with huge success.

Garden waste

Use these handy bags for a spot of clearing up. They make fabulous containers for collecting up all your hedge clippings, tree prunings and weeds. If you don’t have room to compost at home, you can use them to transport materials to your local recycling centre.

Leaf mould

Even more valuable to the gardener than compost is leaf mould, and it’s so easy to make. Just, erm, fill your bag with leaves, cover and allow nature to work its magic for a year or two.

Get rid of weeds

Save yourself money by leaving weed suppressing plastic at the shop and repurpose your builders merchant bulk bag. Cut into strips and lay on the ground before topping with gravel or wood chips.

Protect your furniture

Patio furniture can take a bit of a bashing during the winter months, but not everybody has room in a garage or shed to store things. Builders bags make useful waterproof covers for chairs, tables and the kids sandpit.

What about you – any reuse ideas to share or have you come across a supplier who take bulk bags back to refill?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (6)

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  1. Le-Chat says:

    That would be the best idea… if suppliers would take them back for reuse or recycling! Or start think about more eco friendly packing materials? Or….

    Where are the days when my dad took me along to buy sand for my newly made pit. It was deposited unpacked in his flat trailer. Probably covered by a canvas tarp for the ride home but I can’t remember that. How he got it out is a blur too, guess he just shoveled!
    And then as he built the whole thing with planks, he made a plank cover too. No need for plastic!

  2. Tyler says:

    Some great ideas here, I have used them many times over as tarps for various things from around the house, the jobsite, and camping. They work well under gravel as weed protection, and are very nice to have when doing yard work.

    Luckily for the larger scales of used polypropylene bags they can recycle them at most major centres.

  3. Hildegard Hill says:

    Some builders merchants offer to take the bags back, once you have run out of ideas of reusing them.

  4. Lenilen says:

    I sliced up some bulk bags wtih a craft knife and used, folded double, under gravel as weed suppressant. There are weeds coming up, by not through the fabric.

    Am going to experiment making potato gro bags of 35 litres on my old sewing machine. I think large stitch double seam will be fine .

    The straps are tough, but I have not found a use for them yet.

    • Mrs Green says:

      This is such a brilliant suggestion, Lenilen – thank you! I need some weed suppressant and hadn’t thought of this 🙂

  5. Dennis says:

    Can a bulk bag be used to make a “compost heater” for a greenhouse ?? Place the bulk bag outside the GH in a wooden frame and have a 4” pvc pipe run from inside the bulk bag of compost into the green house for a heat source !!

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