Twist ties are those little metal strips covered in paper or plastic. Instead of throwing them out, try one of these ways to reuse them.
Twist Ties come on so many products that we buy, including foods that aren’t heavily packaged. You’ll sometimes find vegetables bound together with a twist tie. Or maybe your sandwich bread comes in a bag that’s closed with a twist tie.
They are also known as cable ties, twisty ties, bread ties, wire twist tie, bread bag ties, and plastic twist ties.
Either way, unless you are growing your own food and making everything from scratch and bulk store buys, it’s almost impossible to avoid them. And they aren’t only on kitchen products, but almost every electronic comes with a twist tie (or rubber band) around the wires in the packaging.
The next time you have a twist tie, remember to save it and try one of these ways to upcycle it. We have a container in the junk drawer where we throw twist ties and plastic bread tags to put them to good use later.
Originally Published On: March 26, 2019
Last Updated On: August 14, 2020
What is a Twist Tie?
A twist tie is a metal wire that is encased in a thin strip of paper or plastic and is used to tie the openings of bags, such as garbage bags or bread bags. It is also called garden twist wire. A twist tie is used by wrapping it around the item to be fastened, then twisting the ends together (thus the name). They are often included with boxes of plastic food bags or trash bags, and are commonly available individually in pre-cut lengths, on large spools, or in perforated sheets called gangs.
The outer covering can be in a variety of colors with or without printing. Plain paper, metallic paper, plastic, poly, or custom coatings are popular for different applications. The plastic, poly, or metallic paper twist ties withstand water better than the uncoated paper versions. Different sizes and strengths are used for different applications
What can we do?
So, with all these twist ties, what can we do with them? Most places won’t recycle twist ties because they are often composed of different materials. And even if you were to pull the wire from the coating, it’s too small to be recycled.
Refuse: The first option would be to stop buying products that are bound with twist ties. But, sometimes, they are unavoidable.
Reduce: If you can’t go without a product using twist ties, try to reduce the amount you purchase and bring into the home.
Reuse: Find ways to reuse them around the house!
How to Reuse Twist Ties Around the House
Twist Ties in the Kitchen
I feel like this is the most obvious use of twist ties since it’s the one they are typically used for when purchased. But they don’t only have to be used on plastic bags. If you have a paper bag or a cloth bag, you can still use a twist tie to seal it.
If you regularly go bulk shopping, bring a few twist ties with you. Some places only allow you to use their plastic bags, then you have to close them. While the bag can’t always be avoided, the twist tie can if you bring old ones with you.
Group Like Products
Have you ever noticed that a lot of kitchen utensils have a hole in the handle? Those can be used for hanging items on pegboards or hooks. They can also be used to string a twist tie loop through to keep them together. For example, it’s great for measuring spoons since you can take one off without much trouble. You could also use them to keep small things together such as loose skewers.
Twist Ties in the Bathroom/Bedroom
A twist tie can be strung between the eyelets on a shoe to make an emergency shoelace. Just make sure to tuck the ends in well so they don’t poke your foot.
Strip a twist tie down to the wire and it should be small enough to fit through the loops of almost any necklace. If your clasp has broken, it’s a quick fix to keep it together until you can have the clasp replaced.
Sometimes, those pesky zippers can cause such a problem. We’ve had jackets and jeans that the large part of the zipper pull comes off. When that happens, you can use a twist tie to put through the small hole in the zipper and use it like a regular pull. It can also be used to wrap around a zipper and button if you have a pair of pants that the fly never seems to stay up!
Organize Hair Ties
I don’t know about you, but I have so many hair ties. In multiple sizes. One year I made a comment that most of mine had broken and I think every person in my family bought me a set of them. Twist ties are a great way to hold them together so they don’t make a mess in the closet. It’s also perfect for when you travel and want to bring a few with you but don’t want them all over your bathroom bag.
If you have a lot of twist ties, you can use them in the closet as a temporary replacement. If the hanger hook breaks off, attach a twist tie to the top and loop it around the clothing rack.
Emergency Hair Tie
A twist tie can also be used to bind dry or wet hair if you don’t have a hair tie handy.
Twist Ties in the Office
Organize Small Things
Paper clips, binder clips, and rubber bands all have small openings that a twist tie can fit through perfectly. Use it to keep like items together in the office so they don’t make a mess of your computer desk drawers.
Bind Loose Leaf Paper
My oldest son, Tyler, has started doing a lot of writing lately. Of course, he’s in kindergarten and doesn’t know how to spell many words yet, but he tries his hardest to sound them out. Then, after he’s written on a lot of pages, he wants them held together to make a book. Using a hole punch and twist ties, I can make his book for him, but it’s still easily expandable unlike if I were to staple it.
Organize Power Outlets
When you have a lot of cords plugged into one outlet, or a power strip, it’s easy to forget which cord goes to which device. Use colored twist ties to help you remember. Or, twist the tie around the cord and add a bit of duct tape or a small strip of paper and write a note on it. You’ll never unplug the wrong electric appliances again with this trick.
This is probably the most common way twist ties are reused in my house. We have a lot of electronics, and I can’t stand when the power cords are all over the place. Twist ties are perfect to hold the cords together, but can easily be removed if you are rearranging or taking something with you when you travel. These are also a great option for organizing the cords to ear buds if your kids have to bring some to school like mine do.
Other Ways to Reuse Twist Ties
Twist ties can be used to organize craft supplies, such as ribbons and strings. Or, they can be used to make crafts. Use twist ties with children to make rings or bracelets (just watch the pointy ends) or make wire people out of a bunch of them.
There are so many small pieces out in the garage, and twist ties can be used to keep them together. For example, string a twist tie through washers so they don’t separate. If you have a pegboard, twist ties can go around objects to then hang from the pegs.
When you run out of ornament hangers, use twist ties instead. String them through the holiday ornaments then twist them around the tree branch on your Christmas tree. Twist ties are also great for holding up string Christmas lights.
Organize Your Keys
Most people have multiple keys on their key ring, but sometimes, they all look similar. Use all of the different colors of twist ties or ones with wide enough coverings to write on to wrap around the end of each key so you know which is which key. Also, a twist tie can make an emergency key ring if you need one, and it’s easier to get that apart to add a key than a regular metal one.
Zipper Lock when Traveling
Most airlines don’t allow actual locks on luggage anymore in case they need to do a search for security purposes. But, if you want to make sure your zippers stay together during travel, use a twist tie. This can easily be removed and replaced at security if needed and is cheap if it ends up breaking.
Whether you have plants that need a trellis or a support stake, twist ties are a great way to hold the plants to their support beams. You can slowly loosen the twist tie as needed when the plant grows, and remove it later once the plant is more secure. Just make sure the twist tie is never too tight or it could damage the plant.
Twist ties can have a variety of reuses, and it’s always better to reuse than to throw things away.
- What ways have you reused a twist tie before?
- Have you tried any of these uses?
- Do you have any others to add to the list?
- Which item do you regularly purchase that has a twist tie on it?
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