Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
- The simple three “R”s is the best solution to reduce waste. REDUCE your consumption, REUSE when possible, and RECYCLE when the product is no longer serviceable.
- Plastic bags are classified as a “single use” product, but studies show that 90% of the population reuses plastic bags at least once.
- By reusing old bags, you also reduce your consumption. If you collect too many of them, bag them up and return them to the grocery store for recycling.
- Below are some simple solutions for reusing bags instead of just tossing them in the trash.
Return them to the store
- Take usable bags back to the store when shopping to be reused. Most bags will last for several trips. Flatten the bags and fold them up, you’ll be surprised how little space they take up.
- If you have too many to reuse, many stores provide a recycling bin to collect old bags.
- Use old bags for trash can liners. Grocery bags work great for smaller trash cans, and many larger retail bags will easily fit in a kitchen garbage can.
- Contain soiled kitty litter when cleaning the cat box. Lining the cat box with a bag before filling with litter will make clean up a snap.
- Picking up after the dog. Just place your hand in a bag (check for holes first!) and use as a glove to pick up doggy doo. Then just turn the bag inside out to contain the mess.
- Use to contain soiled diapers to contain odors.
- Use to hold wet or oily rags in the garage
- Spread out as drop-cloths when painting small areas
- When painting – store wet brushes or rollers in plastic bags to keep them from drying out between coats. Brushes and rollers will stay wet for days in a bag. If you need them fresh even longer, bag them and stick them in the freezer
- Use as disposable gloves when painting or staining
- Put them over the outside mirrors of your car in winter to keep them dry.
In the kitchen
- Stain proof cookbook cover
- Use to storing vegetables in the crisper, or for an extra layer of wrap for frozen foods
- Use as gloves when working with messy dough or other foods.
- Wrap food going into a cooler during picnics or camping trips to keep things dry.
- Use as lunch bags
- Use as packing material to protect holiday ornaments or glassware in storage.
- Use to store seasonal items so they don’t get dusty or damp sitting in the attic, basement or garage.
- Use large bags as garment bags to protect clothes in the off-season. Just punch a small hole in the bottom of the bag for the hanger, and cover your clothes for storage.
- Use to hold dirty laundry when traveling
- Put extra pairs of shoes in plastic bags to keep other packed clothes clean.
- Hold wet swimsuits or towels
- Before taking to your store for recycling, consider donating old ones to a local dog park, thrift store, or library for reuse.
- Use a bag to contain other plastic bags. When full, just tie up the top and return to the grocery store for recycling.
- Some cities offer curbside plastic bag recycling. Check with your garbage collector or local government to find out the rules. If no recycling programs are available in your area, ask your local grocer, or your local government to work on starting one. Plastic bags are easily recycled, and can be made into raw material for new bags, or various other products.