Simple Green: Re-Using Plastic Baggies

(Image credit: The Kitchn)

For many of us, those resealable plastic baggies are the most convenient way to pack up a sandwich for lunch and snacks for later. But if you throw those bags away every time…well, that adds up to a lot of plastic baggies in the trash! Do you re-use your plastic bags?

I’ll be the first to admit that washing and re-washing these plastic bags is not the most enjoyable task in the universe. We do it by turning each one inside out and washing them with a soapy sponge. Then we prop them up any way we can to make sure the bags dry out evenly. After going through a stack of dirty ones, our counter looks like it sprouted a plastic bag forest!

But for my husband and I, the annoyance of hand-washing all those bags is completely made up for by the fact that we’re saving money and not wasting plastic. We’ve re-used the same box of sandwich sized plastic bags for about a year now, only throwing them away if the bag is obviously ripped, held raw meat, or was used to store something particularly greasy or messy. We’ve tried cloth bags and other eco-friendly alternatives, but we always come back to plastic as the most reliable for holding food and (ironically) easiest to clean.

Devices like the drying rack pictured above make at least the drying portion of the job a little easier! Old baby bottle drying racks also work well, or you can make your own by sticking take-out chop sticks in a flower vase or empty beer bottle.

How do you feel about re-using plastic bags?