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It’s a Wonder-full world

By on April 26, 2008

photo by hownowdesign
bread tabs
I grew up in a thrifty home but didn’t know it for years. As I learned more about frugality, I realized how smart my family was about making every penny count, even when they didn’t have to. I remember wearing plastic white-bread bags over my socks and inside my boots during the winter. I have no idea whether my friends wore them, too. I only know they kept my feet warm and dry.

I share ideas for reusing household items because they’re simple to include in your daily life, and reducing waste is one way to create your legacy. Even the little things you do can have a ripple effect. In the American Folk Art Museum in New York City, there’s a crocheted rug on display that is made entirely of shredded Wonder Bread bags, but you don’t have to go that far.

According to research by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, food can be contaminated when it comes into contact with the lead-containing ink used on the outside of some bread bags. The researchers conclude that while using an inverted bag isn’t an immediate health concern, you should avoid reusing inside-out bread bags to store food. Some people, when reusing bread bags, turn them inside out because they believe that the outside is cleaner. It’s not. But reusing a bread bag with the ink-side out is OK. You can recycle these plastic bags, but first look for ways to reuse them.

FOR PETS: Dispose of pet waste. Some people use them to dispose of cat litter, and others carry them in their pocket when walking their dogs.

FOOD: Instead of grabbing a plastic baggie or plastic wrap to keep foods fresh, use a free bread bag. Cut a bag to cover a small bowl of leftovers, or place foods like muffins or rolls inside. Reuse bread bags to pack lunches that you take to work.

DIAPERS: Use them to wrap stinky disposable diapers. Knot the ends to prevent the smell from permeating your house.

CLOTHING: Add a couple to your suitcase or beach bag for dirty, wet clothing.

CAR: Fold one up and stick it in your glove box so you have a spare bag for last-minute cleanups or surprise messes.

COATING: Put flour or breadcrumbs in them to shake and coat your meat or poultry.

GLOVES: Use them to cover your hands for dirty jobs such as cleaning toilets or animal cages.

SHOPPING BAGS: Reuse them as produce bags when grocery shopping.

PADDING: Use bread bags when you need extra padding to pack items in a box.

HOME SPA: Use them to cover your feet after moisturizing or on your hands after using paraffin wax.

FOOD WASTE: They’re handy for putting meat and poultry bones in before tossing in the trash.

BREAD TABS: Don’t throw these away. Use them as scrapers for dishes and counters. They’re also great as bookmarks. Or attach one to a roll of tape so it doesn’t fold over. They’re perfect for closing open plastic bags, such as rice bags.

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About Sara Noel

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

One Comment

  1. Virginia

    7/22/2009 at 9:15 pm

    to add to your bread bag use, many motorcycle riders wear one between two pairs of socks for additional warmth. The top pair keep the cold from getting to the plastic. Also many men and women also wear old pantyhose under their clotheswhen riding motorcycles or working outside in cold weather.

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