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Monday, February 22, 2010

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Your Plastic Bags

According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. uses roughly 100 billion plastic shopping bags every year. That is a ridiculous amount! As coupon shoppers, we go to the store. A lot. We use a lot of bags. And while my first inclination is to encourage only reusable grocery bags each time you head to the store, I know that is not a reality for many.  So I will encourage you to buy and use reusable grocery bags whenever possible, but for the times you cannot, here is a list of creative ways to reuse those plastics sacks.

1.RECYCLE THEM!! Even with a list of great way to reuse them, chances are you will become overrun by them at some point in your life. Don't throw them out. Recycle them instead!

2.  Bring the plastic bags you already have to the store to reuse them. 

3. Use them as trash can liners. 

4. Donate them to your local library, food pantries, used book stores or thrift stores.

5. Use them as packing material instead of Styrofoam packing peanuts or other expensive packing fillers. 

6. Keep a few handy in a diaper bag for those extra messy diapers!! 

7. Instead of buying bags to clean up behind your pet, use a plastic bag. You can also use them to scoop the cat’s litter box, or donate bags to your local dog park – there is usually a dispenser there for those who forgot to bring their own. 

8. Use them for all sorts of crafting projects. From liners on paint trays for easy clean up, protecting your surfaces when attempting a messy craft or stuffing scarecrows with them at Halloween, plastic bags should be a craft room staple.  

9. When traveling, keep a few in your suitcases for dirty clothes.

10. Wrap homemade bread in a clean bag. It will stay fresher but still be able to breathe.

11. Use them to protect Christmas decorations before packing them away into storage.

12. Place your wet swim suits or other wet clothing inside plastic bags to transport between the pool and home.

13. Put children's sippy cups in a plastic bag to prevent accidental spills in the diaper bag (I've learned the hard way there is no such thing as a "spill proof" sippy cup!).

14. When defrosting meat, place a paper towel in a plastic bag and put the meat in the bag to prevent messy leaks and cleanups.

15. Place a plastic bag inside a bucket or pot next to your sink when you peel fruits or vegetables, or clean and de-bone chicken or other meat. Then simply transfer the bag to the trash for easy cleanup. 

16. Before you send your kids out to play in heavy snow, put plastic bags over their snow boots to keep feet drier.

17. Use them to bag up unneeded food and hygiene supplies (that you got smokin deals on, right?) and donate to local charities or shelters. 

And those are just a few ideas. Have any more to share? 

What do you do with your plastic bags? How/where do you store them at your house?

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Sally said...

This has nothing to do with the recycling post, but I feel soo lost. I am just now catching up on organizing my coupons from like the last 3 months & I don't see anything posted at PYP for a list of what is in wach insert for February. Are they no longer doing that?

Lysa King said...

If you are a crafty person here is another blog I found that gives lots of fun ideas for those old bags, and they would make great Christmas and Birthday presents! :)


Dan and Annalee said...

I'm mostly a reusable bag lady, but the bags that do make it into my house get stuffed into old tissue boxes and then stowed under bathroom/kitchen sinks. Double reuse!

Fabulessly Frugal said...


We do not know why pyp stopped posting them, but we are working on getting lists for everyone!

Meridian Mama said...


Cathy said...

merd mama, #16 totally! My husband does that with the little ones. He pulls out the duct tape and everything! It's hilarious and the kids love all the noise the bags make!

Amber said...

Meridian Mama,

I know it sounds ridiculous, and while I would NEVER send my daughter to school that way it is helpful when playing at home. This winter she spent 2 hours in the snow building a huge snowman with the neighbors. When she came inside her socks were wet and her little toes frozen solid (and she has expensive snow boots!). I so wish I would have duct taped bags to her feet (love it Cathy!).

Meridian Mama said...

I would have thought the boots would become very slippery with plastic bags over them but if you've tried it, it must work! I doubt I ever get to try this one though - I think my husband would just about die if I did that to our boys... :O)
As always, thank you for all the tips and coupon love!