Monday, August 29, 2011

Get Rid of Your Unwanted Plastic Bags Once and For All

Every year, we use around 100 billion plastic grocery bags in the United States alone. And while some cities across the nation have banned use of the bag, many of us aren’t so lucky.

Despite making an effort to go shopping with a reusable bag, those ever-present plastic shopping bags seem to reappear in every cabinet, drawer, and box in my house.

No matter what the reason, I can never bring myself to get rid of all of that plastic. If you’ve got an ever-growing collection of plastic bags making you feel guilty, don’t despair!

Here are some practical and crafty ways to use those bags over and over and over again!

1. Carry Dirty Clothes – Be sure to include a plastic on your packing list! Use it to tote home your dirty clothes or wet swimsuits while you’re on vacation.

2. Scoop the Litter BoxFlushing cat litter down the toilet can be difficult, especially since cat waste contains toxins that’s harmful to aquatic life, and unfortunately, scooping is a fact of life for cat owners. You’ve got to put that smelly litter somewhere. You’re probably using a plastic bag already, so you may as well RE-use one instead.

3. Stash Some In the Glove Box – If you or someone in your family is prone to car sickness, you can keep a plastic grocery bag in the glove box, in case you’re not able to pull over in time to avert disaster.

4. Take to Concerts – Amphitheater shows and multi-day music festivals come with a lot of waste, and the trash and recycle bins seem to always overflow by the end. Instead of piling your empties on top of an overflowing bin, use a plastic grocery bag to take your recyclables home at the end of the show.

5. Remove Dog Waste – I think that it’s only polite to pick up after your pet, and many areas even provide disposal areas for dog waste. Try reusing plastic bags from the grocery store instead of buying small ones at the pet store.

6. Use Them Again – It may not be as fancy as pulling out a canvas grocery tote, but if you’ve got a bunch of those plastic bags around the house, take them to the store to tote another load of groceries home.

7. Line a Paint Tray – Next time you’re painting a room, use a plastic bag to line the paint pan, rather than a disposable plastic pan liner.

8. Cushion Valuables – Whether you’re packing to move or storing Christmas ornaments in the attic, you can wrap them up in plastic bags to avoid damage.

9. Protect Paint Brushes – If you’re taking a break from painting, you can wrap the brush in a plastic bag to keep it from getting dry and hard. Just stick the wrapped up brushes into the fridge until you’re ready to get back to it!

10. Line Small Trash Cans – Reuse a plastic bag to line small trash cans, like in the bathroom, instead of buying new plastic can liners.

11. Donate Them – Places like libraries and food banks would appreciate your donation.

12. Protect Plants From Frost – Protect your plants from a freeze by wrapping them securely in a plastic bag overnight and removing the bag in the morning.

13. Save Shoes in Your Suitcase – When you’re packing for a trip, stash your shoes in a plastic bag, so they don’t make your clothes dirty.

14. Ship It – Plastic bags are proven to have the same benefits as bubble wrap and packing peanuts.

18. Protect Your Knees – Tie a couple of plastic bags around your knees to add some padding while you’re working in the garden.

What are some of your favorite ways to use plastic bags? Comment below to tell us your ideas!

Until next week, EcoNinja101 :-)

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