Cleaning · Food and Drink

Reusing Plastic Bags From the Store

There are generally three sizes of plastic store bags:  (The kind you are given by the store with handles in which they pack your purchases).  The large ones (think the ones you have to request at the register, in order to fit a 12 pack of paper towels or toilet paper stacked four high and three acrost); the regular sized grocery bags and a smaller version, such as you would receive at a Bodega (corner store) or Family Dollar.  Any which are clean and not torn, we reuse.

Before anyone gets excited over my utilisation of plastic bags, we do take our own reusable, washable bags when we go to BJs, Aldi and Sav a lot.  I will even take the insulated bags with me to Wal-Mart and the food pantry if the day will be hot or my trip will be extended, en route home with the foodstuffs.  I have reusable ice packs and these allow the food to stay cold inside the insulated bag until I return home.  BTW, the larger of these insulated bags, I purchased over six years ago at Whole Foods and, I must say, it was a great investment of $19.99 because, it not only keeps the food cold when it’s hot outside, but it has lasted through countless trips to buy/get food and has stood up to the abuse of being loaded into a shopping cart and hauled on/off city busses.

Back to my point.  Sorry, having foggy brain this morning.  My sixteen month old has (mercifully) her first ear infection and my Botox injection for my chronic migraines has been wearing off for a month and the nerve block only lasted a few days.  To top those two, I had surgery last month to remove my gall bladder and a miscarriage last week.  But, God is good, all the time, as we say at church.

Large plastic bags – These we reuse to line the 12/13 gallon trash pails in the kitchen and Living Room.  My favorite reuse of these is filling them with items to be donated to Vietnam Veterans of America (who will come and pick up; they also have online scheduling) or Savers/Value Village (the local Savers supports Big Brothers/Big Sisters, an organization which provides mentors to youth and one from which I benefited greatly as a youngster) and who generally will issue a punch card, which, when filled is good for thirty percent off a non-sale day purchase.

Standard size plastic bags – We give these a second life as liners for our four gallon trash receptacles (bedrooms and bathroom).  Some stores, such as Wal-Mart, also have recycling bins for these bags in store.  When I have smaller donations; need to keep my water bottle from leaking in my backpack or to protect my electronics while I am running errands in the rain, I also use these.  My husband has even been known to wrap leftovers or open packages of food in this size bag, as I have stopped purchasing plastic zippered bags and wax paper for kitchen food use and am slowly building a stash of washable fabric insulated and uninsulated zippered storage bags.  I especially love the Made in the U.S.A. (no lead in the insulation) insulated zippered storage bags for the freezer which I have purchased from Etsy shop Love for Earth.

Small size plastic handle bags – These I typically find at Bodegas and ‘dollar’ stores, such as Family Dollar and Dollar Tree.  We have an old canvas duffel bag that used to haul Ray-Ray’s soccer stuff, in which we keep all of this size bag.  C finds these to be just the right size for scooping Midnight’s poop, which led us to a whole discussion about washable doggy poop bags (another post).

Storing the bags – As I mentioned above, I store the smallest of these in an old canvas duffel.  The regular size bags I fold into triangles and keep in an old kiwi container which snaps shut and is see through (the container is the square size, such as you would find at BJ’s in the produce section).  The largest of the plastic handled bags ordinarily get put to immediate reuse, but, in the event that I have so many that I need to store a few (such as after a holiday sale trip to Savers), I use one of the kitchen drawers for this purpose, since this is where we keep the kitchen store-bought trash bags, it makes the most sense organizationally.

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