My Mom’s Ingenious Idea for Reusing Bread Bags

published Apr 18, 2024
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The sink in my parents’ kitchen does not have a garbage disposal built into it. This isn’t a good or a bad thing — it just is. I remember moving into my first apartment with a garbage disposal and not being able to shake the habit of keeping food from going down the drain.

Living in an apartment with this luxury meant I didn’t need a little pail for food scraps next to the sink, which is something my mom has had for as long as I can remember. The benefits of the time-honored food scrap pail are twofold: First, it prevents rotting food from stinking up a big trash can (and having to walk plates over to that can to scrape them), and second, when it fills up, it can just be emptied it into the compost pile out back. 

While it’s true that you can buy little compostable bags for a food pail, there’s another way my mom protects this container that I think is really smart. She uses the bags that carry loaves of bread to line her food pail instead. They’re the perfect size — small and somewhat narrow — to fit into the little bin, as long as you roll down the edges a bit. 

The bread bags themselves are not compostable, of course, but they still serve as reusable vessels for transporting the food scraps to the compost pile. And if everybody happens to be in a rush one day, the bread bag and its contents can also be thrown into the big trash. 

My mom’s little trick saves her a bit of money on buying new bags and reuses what is typically viewed as single-use plastic. It’s a small gesture for sure, but it creates a little less waste in this big world, if only to give a used bread bag a second life before it’s discarded. 

She keeps a little stack of the bags in a basket on the kitchen counter and sometimes uses them for other things, too. Need a little baggie for snacks on the road? Bread bags and a twist tie come through every time. Worried your bottle of kombucha is going to leak during the day? Stick it in a bread bag before packing it in your purse. 

The uses for these petite plastic bags, which are typically quite clean and only need to have crumbs shaken out of them, are seemingly endless. But lining the food scraps pail beside the sink is a great place to start.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: My Mom’s Genius Idea for Reusing Bread Bags