|Grocery Bag Mountain of Shame|
Some time back on my facebook page, I promised a Family Frugal series. It's been awhile since I've posted any ideas. Then, on Thursday, when I visited my cousin to take a look at her studio paint job and noticed her pack of paint tray liners, the light bulb came on.
I hate plastic grocery bags. The green crowd hates plastic grocery bags, but the hating is misplaced anger. Plastic grocery bags are strong, useful, convenient, reusable and fully recyclable. The fact that many people don't bother to recycle them is the real problem. This is why we see them stuck to the tree branches in our backyards, clogging our streams and enjoying longevity in land fills. How about a good, celebrity studded TV campaign to encourage people to make the effort to recycle their plastic bags, rather than demonizing them. Or maybe even an incentive program to turn your bags back in. Recycle containers are at every grocery store.
Instead we are encouraged to use reusable bags, like the kind I have sitting in my car for impromptu trips to the grocery store where I leave the car, fill up my cart, then realize that the bags are still in my car. Or, scenario two, I leave the car with two bags thinking I have only a few things to get, then realize it's not enough in the checkout line and end up being sent home with more plastic bags.
Back to why I hate plastic grocery bags- because I have a tangled, jumbled plastic grocery bag mountain in my pantry that spills out a few bags every time I open the door, that I can no longer see under without causing an avalanche.
Now that I am a stay at home mom, I look for ways to save money. Time to use up as many plastic bags as I can, then recycle what I can't. Which leads me to:
11 Ways to Reuse the Plastic Grocery Bag:
1) Use your grocery bags to line both kitchen and bathroom trash containers. Stop buying plastic trash can liners. You may have to take the trash out daily since they fill up faster, but you will use up those bags. They will also still end up in a landfill, but the plastic trash can liners you were buying were going there anyway.
2) Use them as packing material. Don't buy bubble wrap. Plastic grocery bags are great for filling up extra space in boxes and keeping glass items from clinking against each other. Also great for packing when moving or storing items away.
3) Use them to line a paint pan. Stop buying pan liners. Slip the plastic bag completely over the pan and pour the paint right over top of the plastic lined pan. When you are done painting, you can turn the bag inside out while removing it from the pan and discard it with the paint residue inside. Makes for a very easy clean up. If you are taking a break from painting, you can slip another bag over the bag lined pan to keep your paint from drying up or getting contaminated.
4) Protect a baby dress or outfit. These bags are the perfect size for baby dress bags. When my daughter was little, I would usually take two outfits for a photo session. I would dress her in one casual outfit, then take a pretty dress on a hanger to change her into. To keep this dress from getting dirty I would cover it with a plastic grocery bag by poking a hole in the bottom middle of the bag for the hanger and pulling it down over the dress. Then it could still be hung up and be protected.
5) Pack your lunch in one for work every day. It's not stylish but you will also save money by packing a lunch instead of buying.
6) Use them to poop scoop your yard. Turn them inside out, insert your hand and grasp the poop, then turn the bag right side out.
7) Contain a dirty diaper until you can dispose of it.
8) Use for dirty laundry while traveling.
9) Carry one in your beach bag to contain wet clothes.
10) Pack seasonal wreaths or dried flower arrangements away for storage. Items that are longer can be covered from opposite ends with two bags.
11) Donate to your local farm stand. Local farm stands collect plastic bags to bag up produce for their customers. Often they take donations.
Reduce your plastic bag supply by telling the check out clerk at the store not to bag items that already have handles like milk jugs, juice jugs and soda packs.
I'm watching my mountain get smaller as I save money. Do you have any unique uses for plastic grocery bags?
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