Our resident bag lady, Mary Ingle, of Austin, Texas, has crocheted shopping bags, hats and even a raincoat made from those electric blue New York Times bags.

Crochet hook size J, scissors, and many plastic bags-the blue New York Times bags are especially nice for this.
Preparation: Cut the plastic bags into 1" strips by starting at the top of the bag and cutting in a spiral fashion to create one long strip. Several bags may be cut at one time.

Bottom of the bag: Chain three, join with a slip stitch to form a ring.
1st round: chain 1, single crochet 8 stitches in the ring, join with a slip stitch.

2nd round: chain 1, increase 1 single crochet in each stitch, join with a slip stitch.

3rd round: chain 1, single crochet in 1st stitch, increase 2 single crochet in each sequential stitch in order to keep your circle flat, join with a slip stitch.

Repeat round three until you have reached your desired diameter for the bottom of the bag. You may need to vary the increase from 2 single crochet to 1 every other stitch.

Sides of the bag: Chain 1, half crochet or slip stitch in 1/2 of each stitch (1 loop, not 2 as in a regular "kernel" of each single crochet), join with a slip stitch.
Next round: chain 1, single crochet each stitch. Repeat with the variation of increase 1 to 3 stitches every other row or every other round, in order to make the sides of the bag bell out slightly. Continue until desired height for the bag has been reached.

You may decorate the sides at any time with constrasting plastic strips.

I like to use the popcorn stitch (Double crochet 5 stitches in 1 single crochet, slip stitch last double crochet to the first double crochet, chain 3, repeat).

To finish the top of the bag, the last two rounds are half crocheted or slip stitched for a sturdier finish.
Handles: Choose a rather symmetrical position for the placement of the handles. Start each handle by single crocheting 4-5 stitchs per row until the desired length of the handle has been reached, join to the other side of the bag with slip stitches. Next fold the handle in half, and crochet or slip stitch each stitch together along the length of the handle.

Voila! A useful, fun shopping bag constructed from a landfill product!