I've generally had no problem accepting some plastic bags at stores, since I do it so rarely and always reuse the bags to clean litter boxes (which nonetheless leaves them ending up in the landfill, I know). Lately, my mother's been re-homing her plastic bags with me, since they would otherwise end up getting thrown out by her. Because of this, I've decided to nose around online a bit, to look for creative and useful things to do with extra bags, as well as ways to reuse existing items at home to actually make reusable bags. I've noticed that reusable bags are often for sale now at many grocery stores, from $1.00 to $4.00, so I was curious to see what other options were available.
I found this blog post on how to make bags out of old sheets and used jeans (or other sturdy fabric). The cost is zilch if you use your own old sheets and old jeans. Online instructions for making shopping bags are plentiful. For instance, morsbags.com even has animated step-by-step instructions for another type of bag. It calls for more durable fabric than what you'd get with sheets. I'd suggest checking out a thrift store, or the liquidation sales that fabric stores often have, if you want to keep costs down.
A woman called Cristen has devoted a blog to crocheting with plastic from old bags. She tells you how to prepare them first and provides links to dozens of projects, including how to make crocheted bags out of used plastic bags. Cindy, at myrecycledbags.com provides tons of patterns (with illustrated instructions) for plastic bag crafts. For instance, she has instructions on how to make a doormat or a pot scrubber. Now if I can only learn to crochet... Craftzine has also featured information in its blog on how to crochet things out of plastic bags, as well as how to fuse plastic to create things like clothing and jewelry.
So why not just recycle the bags, you may wonder? Aren't most bags biodegradable these days, anyway? I'll post more on that aspect of the plastic bag issue later.
(Listening to: The Bauhaus' The Sky's Gone Out)