Don’t Toss Potting Soil Bags! Reuse Them In These 5 Ways

If you like to start your seeds indoors for transplanting later or need to top up your garden beds with a little soil, chances are that you have bought bags of potting soil, seed starting soil, compost, mulch, etc. When you empty the bag, don’t throw it away. Reuse the potting soil bag in your garden and save money.

Here are some key uses for those bags.


Grow Bags

You could spend tons of money on grow bags OR you could easily turn your empty soil bags into grow bags to grow your vegetables or flowers. They are tough and make excellent containers. Each bag is typically a cubic foot or about the size of a 5 gallon bucket or container. Just cut some drainage holes in the bottom, fill the bag with homemade compost or soil, plant your seeds or starts, and use it like any other grow bag or container.

The bags are easy to move around. Personally, I like to turn them inside out to hide the packaging colors and present a uniform white exterior.

Weed Barriers

These bags make excellent weed barriers, whether you’re covering the bottom of a bed, starting a weed-suppressed environment for melons and squash, making a weed-free pathway or creating a weed-free edging around your beds.

Lay the bags over the area you are trying to suppress and weigh them down with soil, rocks, sticks, mulch, etc. You can also cut them open to double your coverage area.

Compost Bags

Don’t have a lot of room for big compost bins? Use empty soil bags to compost in. When I lived in town and didn’t have my outdoor compost bins, I used my empty potting soil bags as compost bins. I mixed plant clippings, spent microgreens soil, and other green waste in the bags along with used soil I wanted to refresh. It worked pretty well over a period of months to create new compost.

However, if you’re keeping the bags indoors, you’ll want to avoid creating a stench. Don’t compost fruit or most kitchen scraps. Just compost clippings from plants, used coffee grounds or tea leaves, and spent soil.


In filling my garden beds, I mostly used 5 gallon buckets to store compost and wood chips I hauled from the municipal leaf waste site. I had a lot of bed space to fill. Often I didn’t have enough buckets to fill on site so had to improvise. I turned to using empty potting soil bags. They’re designed to carry soil so were tough and durable for my needs and acted like 5 gallon buckets in a pinch.

Leaf Waste Bags

Similarly, use empty bags as leaf waste bags, mulch holders, trash bags, etc. Give them one last purpose as containers, even if it’s just for trash or leaves. They’re more durable than black leaf bags so you can get more than one round from them.

Reuse, Repurpose & Upcycle

Next time you empty a soil or compost bag, hang onto it. You might find a good use for it in your garden as a grow bag, weed barrier, DIY compost bin, bucket, or leaf waste bag. Maybe you can think of other ways to repurpose those bags? If so, drop them in the comments section below. I’d love to read your suggestions.

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