15 Fab Reuses for Bread Tags and Twist Ties

By: Alia Hoyt  | 
bread bag clips
Bread tags have tons of uses and reuses. Francois Lariviere/Shutterstock

If you buy bread or hamburger rolls at the grocery store, you've probably taken off a clip or a twist tie to get at the baked good. Over the course of a year of buying bread, that adds up to a lot of bread tags and twist ties. These can't be recycled easily because bread tags (also known as bag clips or bread clips) are usually made with polypropylene, which cannot be recycled, and twist ties are made of a variety of materials, which makes them hard to recycle. Both types of clips are also very tiny, so they often get stuck in recycling machines.

Fortunately, there are many ways to reuse them that can really make your life easier. Here are some ultra-useful ways to reuse bread tags and twist ties and keep them out of landfills.

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1. Label Cords

Power strips are fabulous because they allow one electrical outlet to power much more than a couple of items. However, when you need to unplug something, it's quite a crapshoot figuring out which cord is the best one to remove (table lamp versus all-important wireless router, for example). Rather than puzzling unnecessarily, use plastic bag clips to label each cord. Just write "lamp" or "television" or whatever on the clip and pop it around the portion of the cord closest to the plug.

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2. Keep Cords From Getting Tangled

Along similar lines, prevent cords that are not currently in use from becoming a big old tangled mess. Roll them up neatly, then secure the coil in place with a twist tie. Revel in how much better your junk drawer looks than your neighbor's. Really, this works well for anything that's inclined to get tangled, like string or ribbon.

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3. Keep Hair Bands Together

One little plastic bag clip or twist tie is all it takes to keep items like rubber bands or hair bands together. Such a simple hack with such a major impact on the average desk, drawer or bathroom.

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4. Attach Decorative Lights

Make your holiday display look oh-so-professional by using twist ties to secure light strands to the porch, fence or even the tree. No longer will they droop between nails or branches in an unsightly manner.

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5. Label Key Rings

Everyone has a few unlabeled keys whose purpose is a mystery. Solve the mystery (i.e., figure out where the key belongs), then label it accordingly by writing "car" or "back door" on the bag clip. Secure it to the key ring, and voila!

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6. Use as a Tiny Food Scraper

When pancake batter or ice cream drips on the counter and is left to harden, it can feel darn near impossible to get off. Use a bag clip as an itty-bitty scraper to remove these aggravating foodstuffs. This is also a great option for pots and pans that have crusted over in spots.

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7. For Preschool-perfect Activities

Bread tags and twist ties come in a rainbow of colors. Use them for an educational purpose and ask the toddler in your life to sort them! Start off by separating them into like colors, then introduce more advanced concepts like lightest to darkest, or vice versa. The pieces can also be used to demonstrate basic math concepts.

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8. Label Wine Glasses

Plastic bag tags are just the right size to snap around the base of a wine glass stem. Write the user's name on the clip and marvel over this economical and earth-friendly hack.

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9. Close Other Bags

Hands tying bag of cereal in health food store
A twist tie can tie up anything. Once your loaf of bread is finished, use it to tie up an open bag of rice or a small bag of cereal taken from your bulk stock. Jupiterimages/Getty Images

Just because that bag clip or twist tie came on the end of a bread bag, doesn't mean that it can't close other bags, as well. This most obvious of hacks might be the most helpful, because everyone knows that store-bought clips break and disappear at the least convenient times possible.

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10. Make Tape Easier to Use

No one enjoys the struggle of peeling tape back off the roll to use. It invariably ends up splitting and then a bunch of the sticky stuff gets wasted. So, when you're done using a roll of tape, don't let the end piece resettle onto the roll. Instead, stick a plastic bag clip under the end portion and enjoy easy access the next time you need it.

11. Curl Your Hair

Here's one most of us would never have thought of! One offbeat idea for twist ties is to use them as makeshift hair curlers. Simply twist wet hair around your finger, then secure the "curl" with a twist tie. Repeat until all hair is done. Allow to the hair dry, then untwist them and enjoy soft curls that required no heat damage.

12. Clean in Tiny Places

The ends of twist ties are small enough to fit in some pretty hard-to-reach places, like between electric razor blades or other crevices. Simply stick the end into the area in question, making sure that it's unplugged, and slide it around to dislodge any stuck items.

13. Hang it Up

Twist ties are the ideal material for hanging things up, whether the item in question is a Christmas ornament, a set of keys, individual tools or something else entirely. Just make sure it's securely twisted to avoid a crash and a mess.

14. Pull a Zipper

Sometimes the zipper is still perfectly fine, but the puller breaks apart. Opt for a quick fix by threading a twist tie through the zipper slider. This works especially well on bags or coats, as long as you don't plan to throw them in the washer.

15. Donate to a Good Cause

When all else fails – or you just have too big a collection of plastic bread tags to reuse them all, you can donate them. Save yours up and ship them off to Danielle Cares for Chairs, an organization that collects and recycles these tags, then uses the proceeds to help people in need buy wheelchairs.

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