The City of McMinnville has recently passed an ordinance that will phase in a restriction of plastic shopping bags at the checkout. Starting September 1, remember to bring your reusable totes to load your groceries from the major supermarkets. Small shops will continue to have plastic bags for a while longer.
If you are anything like me, you have a stash, perhaps under your sink like I do.
Some people argued against banning these thin plastic bags because they use them for picking up the piles their dogs make while out walking. Thanks to them for keeping our streets and sidewalk clear, but chances are the supply will not dry up completely. Since there is a definite problem with plastic in our landfills and oceans, each of us needs to make an effort to alter our ways.
The other bags that get heavy use in my life are the various sizes of zipper-close heavier plastic bags. Now, unless the bags gets super yucky, I wash it and re-use it.
The idea of RE-USE is one of the main concepts to reduce garbage going to the landfill, and that is where plastic bags end up, so to delay that time is preferable.
Here are some concepts for using those bags in other ways:
- Cut one corner off a plastic bag to create a makeshift funnel. This trick also works to make a DIY piping bag! I use sandwich baggies to drizzle melted chocolate on cookies or pipe a blob of frosting on a cake in an effort to be decorative.
- Peel vegetables into a plastic bag to easily transport peels to your compost bin. (A better use for those veggie peels would be to keep a gallon ziplock bag in the freezer, fill it as you prep veggies. When you have a full bag you can make a delicious vegetable broth which can be used for a base for a soup or other cooking. Let me know if you want more specific directions.)
- Put packages of meat on a plastic bag in the refrigerator when defrosting to keep juices from going all over the place.
- Put your tablet or phone in a zipper top plastic bag when you want to read in the bath room. You know you don’t want to spend good money replacing that phone!
- You can also cover small pots with plastic bags to create a mini greenhouse and help plants sprout. My mom used to do this over 50 years ago when we would leave for a 2-4 week camping trip. When we got home, the plants looked great!
- Carry a grocery sack with you as you weed your garden to corral weeds before throwing them away or in your compost bin.
- Tie a grocery sack to your lawn mower to store litter, dog toys, pine cones etc. as you mow the lawn.
- When mailing packages, save money on bubble wrap by using plastic bags as padding. Old paper grocery sacks are also great padding! Use this trick when packing away breakable Christmas ornaments as well.
- Save grocery sacks to use at your next yard sale. (We’ll talk about reuse of other items in another blog, but “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is a good motto.)
- Create a scented sachet by putting a few cotton balls in a plastic bag and adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Poke some holes in the bag and put it in your dresser drawer
- Keep a plastic baggie in your car’s glove compartment in order to stash important receipts or other items during a trip. Having another one for tissues and other trash helps keep the car tidy also. Maybe several more if you have a traveler who is prone to motion sickness.
- On vacation, bring along an extra plastic bag to store dirty clothes. Bring a second bag for wet bathing suits when you have to pack before they are dry. Packing shoes in bags keeps the clothes cleaner.
- Bring a plastic sack to an outdoor show or festival or when you go to the coast or a hike. Sometimes the organizers don’t plan enough trash receptacles or removal during the event and the landscape tends to get disgusting with garbage people leave behind. Be responsible and come with a plastic grocery bag to take your recyclables, compostibles and trash home at the end of the event. And collect some trash others have left too!
- During winter, if you park outside, cover your mirrors and windshield with plastic bags to eliminate any scraping of ice in the morning.
If you are not in the habit of alternative reusing, then bring your bags back to the grocery store to pack your groceries again. Also, some of the supermarkets have containers accepting the single-use bags for recycling. Currently, McMinnville’s recycling program does NOT take these bags, but there is a collection container at the transfer station as well.
And finally, if you are artistic, there are ways you can use these plastic bags in projects.
Woven into trash cans
Woven into a reusable tote! Now that is a win win!
The list goes on….and on, limited only by creativity. The point is STOP PUTTING THESE BAGS IN YOUR TRASH!!!