Gear & Gadgets

6 Survival Uses For Plastic Shopping Bags

Every year, about 500 million to 1 trillion plastic shopping bags are used. You can find them all over the place, from stuck in trees in the cities or along the banks of riverbeds. Normally, all these plastic bags are a major eyesore. However, in a survival situation, you’ll be really glad that there are plastic shopping bags all over the place.

1. Collect Water From Plants

If you are out in the wild and can’t find any water, you can collect the water which naturally comes off of trees, bushes, and other plant life. This is known as “transpiration.” All you need to do is tie a plastic bag around a bunch of greenery, making sure that a corner of the bag is angled downwards. As the plant releases its water into the air, it will collect in the bag as condensation. The droplets of condensation will drip down into the corner of the bag.

2. Make A Rope

One plastic bag by itself isn’t very strong. However, when you braid strips of plastic bags together, you can form a very strong rope. There is virtually no limit to what you can do with a rope in SHTF situations.

3. Improvised Glove

A plastic bag isn’t exactly going to replace nylon gloves for surgery, but they can be used as gloves in many situations. For example, if you need to pick up a dead rat to remove it, just put the plastic gloves over your hands first.

4. Make Waterproof Fabric

Plastic shopping bags will melt if you apply heat to them. Using an iron, you can fuse shopping bags together to make a large piece of fabric, which can then be used in many ways. These pictures show a raincoat which was made from fused plastic bags, but you could also fuse them together to make a tarp to use as a tent or for rainwater collection.

5. Catch A Fish

Find a part of a stream/river/etc which has a narrow area. Get lots of large rocks and construct a causeway in that narrow area. Basically, you are building a funnel for the fish to go down. At the end of the causeway, there needs to be a little gap. Put a net at the bottom of the causeway. You can make a net out of braided plastic bags. Or you can just use a doubled plastic bag. If you do this, you’ll need to poke very tiny holes in the bags so water can flow through, but make sure the holes aren’t so big that the bag will tear.
Make sure your net/bags are anchored down well. The net/bags also need to be open so fish will get inside them. Go upstream and start scaring the fish towards the causeway. You can do this by throwing rocks into the water. The fish will swim into the causeway and be funneled into your net/bags.

6. Weave Supplies

Just like how you can braid strips of plastic shopping bags into a rope, you can also use those strips to weave supplies you need. You’ll need to know how to weave/knit in order to do this, so now is a good time to start practicing.

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