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Bag it: What to do with all that plastic

By on March 17, 2008

photo by Tim Parkinson
plastic bags
Until there’s a ban on plastic grocery bags, they’ll continue to multiply quickly in many households. While using cloth bags greatly reduces the amount of bags that enter your home, not everyone uses them all the time. You should reuse any you have instead of throwing them away, but, in the meantime, you’ll need an organized way to store them all. Here are several storage solutions. If you have a tip that I’ve left out, let me know.

TISSUE BOX: Wad them into an empty facial-tissue box and pull them out as needed.

FOLD THEM: They take up less space when folded. Simply fold them like you would fold a flag. For instructions, visit www.wikihow.com/Fold-a-Plastic-Bag.

TRASH CAN: Store a few in the bottom of your wastebaskets, so when you change a bag, the replacement bag is handy.

CARDBOARD TUBE:
For storing just a few bags, use a cardboard tube filled with plastic bags in a drawer or cabinet.

SODA BOXES: When the drinks are gone, save the box and you’ll discover a ton of plastic bags will fit inside. It’s easy to fit in a lower cabinet or stack on a shelf.

LARGER PLASTIC BAG:
Hang a large plastic bag with handles in a garage or utility room and house a bundle of plastic bags inside of it. Think of it as controlled clutter.

SEW A TUBE: Using fabric, sew a tube with drawstrings at the top and bottom. Use the top strings to hang and the bottom to cinch the tube shut until you need to pull a bag out. A variation on this idea is to reuse an old tube sock.

BABY-WIPES CONTAINERS:
Much like tissue boxes, there’s easy access and it holds a ton of bags.

OATMEAL CONTAINER:
Reuse an oatmeal container. It’ll hold more than you think.

MILK JUG:
Either cut part of the top off or cut a circle into the side of a plastic jug and stuff your plastic grocery bags inside. Make the opening large enough for your hand to reach in.

RETURN THEM:
Many stores recycle them and have a drop-off collection bin.

DOG PARKS:
Some dog parks have a bin that dispenses plastic bags for dog owners. Inquire whether you can replace bags, too.

LIBRARIES: Many libraries use plastic bags when you check out materials. Ask whether they would like to reuse some bags.

ANIMAL SHELTER:
Call and ask whether they’ll take bags. They use them for cleanup.

IN THE CAR:
Store some in your car trunk. They’re great to have when cleaning the car, traveling, for wet or soiled clothing and beach toys.

STOCK POT: If you have a large stock pot you rarely use, place your extra bags inside.

CAT-LITTER CONTAINER:
Reuse a large plastic cat-litter container. It can hold a bunch of plastic bags. Keep it handy for when you’re cleaning the litter.

SECONDHAND STORES:
Call to see whether your local thrift store, indoor flea markets or used bookstore can use them.

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About Sara Noel

Sara Noel owns Castalia Coffee Roasting Company, Follow me on Twitter

One Comment

  1. Jo

    7/22/2009 at 8:46 pm

    I read with interest the uses for plastic grocery bags. I make good use of them if not returning for re-cycling.

    While waiting in an airport one time a woman was cutting and crocheting the bags to make a purse. She showed us how to cut them. I have several patterns to crochet them into rugs. Have the bags and hope soon to have the time to cut and try to crochet them. Or one could make a shopping bag out of crocheted bags. A large needle is needed a “J” hook. Can also be knitted if one knits.

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