Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Money Bags

Plastic grocery bags are so money, and you don't even know it. Not that I agree with non-biodegradable bags being produced in the first place and collecting in landfills and into that huge garbage island in the Pacific, and yada yada yada.  But, being that the world is a flawed place, and plastic bags do exist (and seem to spawn in my pantry during the night), the least we can do is use them, preferably more than once, to the full extent of their capabilities.
No, I'm not going to suggest that you tie a bunch of them together to make a wind sock, nor film one floating in the wind while expounding on the beauty of the universe (wow- two nineties movie references in one post- I am on fire, today).  Here are just some of the ways you can use your plastic grocery bags (other than carrying groceries- that one seemed kind of obvious)- they'll save you money, and make you feel a little better about your carbon footprint and whatnot. Show me the money.

15 Alternative Uses for Plastic Grocery Bags

Plastic bags can be your best friend on a trip. Just throw a bunch in your suitcase and watch all the ways you'll end up using them. Best of all, they are super-lightweight, and take up hardly any space in your bag. And did I mention they're free?

1. Undies: The grossest thing about living out of a suitcase is when your clean unmentionables get mixed up with your dirty ones, and you aren't sure what's what. The solution to this vexing problem is to bring along some (lightweight, take-up-no-space) plastic bags. Once you wear a pair of socks or undies, throw them in the bag, and you'll never have to do the sniff test again.
2. Wet Bathing Suits: This one's obvious- double-bag your wet bathing suits and beach clothes to keep the rest of your stuff from getting mildewy or sandy (especially if you took your vacation on the Trash Island).
3. Shoes: My husband wraps each of his shoes in a plastic bag before he puts it in his suitcase. It keeps them from getting scuffed by zippers, etc, and keeps the rest of his stuff from getting dirty.
4. Toiletries: Even if you use my fancy "vacuum" trick, liquids sometimes have an uncontrollable urge to leak all over your suitcase. Rein them in with double plastic bags.

I don't even have a car, and I can still imagine all the wonderful ways plastic bags can help you on the road.

5. The Glovebox: Keep all your important car documents, maps, and other papers together and dry by tying them up in a grocery bag.
6. In The Trunk: Keep your emergency kit safe, clean and and together in a bag. Also, any greasy or wet car products (is it obvious I don't have a car?) like oil or wiper fluid can be wrapped up to prevent leaking.
7. Trash: When you finish that breakfast burrito on the road, wouldn't it be nice to have somewhere to put the wrapper without getting refried beans all over your upholstery? Voila- a grocery bag.
8. Car-sickness: It's always a good idea to have a disposable receptacle available should someone start turning green in the backseat. I'd double-bag.

 Your dog doesn't care about status symbols. You could wrap your dog in plastic bags instead of that fancy raincoat, and she wouldn't care (I'm not counting that as an idea, but it's not a bad one). That's the best thing about dogs.

9. Walks: If you live in a city, where you are required by law to, ahem, pick up after your pet, then you should have no problem using up those grocery bags. Just put it over your hand like a glove, hold your breath, and go for it.
10. Toys: Within a few minutes of entering our house, new dog toys are covered in slobber, caked in dog hair and filthy/gross/disgusting. When our dog is not playing with them, I wrap the toys in plastic grocery bags and stow them out of sight and mind.


11. Garbage Liners: I use old grocery bags to line to small garbage cans under the sinks in our bathrooms. No one sees them anyway, unless they are throwing something away, and that way I don't have to see their garbage up close when I empty it. So everyone wins.
12. Packing Material: I wrap delicate Christmas ornaments and other tchotchkes in plastic bags before storing them, and stuff extra bags in between. Much cheaper than bubble-wrap (although admittedly less fun).
13. Garbage Bowl: When I am doing something gross, like removing the narsty bits from inside a whole chicken, or trimming fat off a steak, and line my garbage bowl with a plastic bag. That way I don't have to touch the nastiness twice (when cleaning out the bowl), and it keeps the bowl from getting too much bacteria on it.
14. Fridge Clean-Out: When I steel up my courage and clean out the random leftovers and tupperwares in my fridge, I always dump the smelly, rotting food into a plastic grocery bag first, and then the garbage. It helps prevent your kitchen from smelling like someone died there, until you take the trash out.

15: Recycle: At the very least, if you aren't reusing your grocery bags, you should recycle them. Most major grocery and drug stores have receptacles to collect them.  If your store doesn't have one- ask a manager to get one. That way, your grocery bags really can spawn more grocery bags for me to use.


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amelia said...

Great ideas! My mom in law made a neat reusable grocery store tote out of plastic bags that looks like this one: http://www.marloscrochetcorner.com/Plastic%20Bag%20tote.html
a bit more time consuming than your ideas, but a nice lazy Saturday project

jackie said...

Love these ideas and your blog! Keep up the awesome posts! :)

Lily said...

Thanks, people! That tote bag is amazing, Amelia!