When most people think of recycling, they think of separating their refuse into different containers. The plastic in one bin, paper in another bin, and the rest in the landfill! This type of recycling is as far as most people ever go, let alone think about. But there is another type of recycling that many have never even considered. There is more to be saved than the environment by participating in a this type of recycling! Have you ever thought about how much money you could save if you reused certain items for a different purpose? Here are a few highlights that might start the ol’ noodle to work for you.
Plastic bags, like the kind you get at the grocery, can have another life, before going in the trash bin. They have number of uses that most people haven’t considered.
• Try using some as small trash can liners, you save on trash bags because they cost you $0!
• How about using them to keep paint brushes in great condition? If you are in the middle of painting, and get interrupted for an extended period, wrap the brush or roller in one of these bags, it will keep the air from drying the paint and ruining your tools.
• You can also use them for place mats for young children to place their art projects on. No more glue, glitter, and finger paint on the dining room table. When they are all done, grab the bag by the corners and fold it all together for the trash.
• If your children are small enough you can use these bags as smocks for craft projects. Simply cut a hole in the bottom of the bag (large enough to fit their little head through) and 2 holes in the sides for their arms and you have an instant, free, and disposable smock.
• If your grocery uses brightly colored bags, you can use them for wrapping paper in a crunch! No cost and a second life!
• Keep your kitchen cleaner. Instead of peeling vegetables into the kitchen sink or onto the counter or cutting board, use a plastic bag from the grocery. No cost and easy clean up!
• While we’re in the kitchen, try using a plastic bag to protect your cookbooks! Wrap all but the page(s) you need in a plastic bag and keep the rest of the book ‘ingredient free’.
• Plastic bag booties. They don’t provide a good deal of traction, so be careful. But they will work wonderfully when you need to keep from tracking mud, snow, or water into a house. Wrap your shoes/boots in the plastic bags and keep from tracking the mess in after you. The only think besides the traction you will have to watch out for is the ‘fashion police’.
• Use a plastic grocery bag to store wet umbrellas in. If you keep a couple of these in your purse or glove compartment of the car, you will always have one handy for you wet (small) umbrella. The big golf umbrellas usually don’t fit well in these.
These are just a few ideas on how you can give plastic grocery bags a second life! I’m sure you can come up with more if you put your mind to it. The concept doesn’t apply only to plastic grocery bags. Take the time to look through your pantry and see what types of plastic containers you use frequently. Think about alternative uses once they are empty.
Powdered fruit punch and flavored kids drink containers work wonderfully for storing all sorts of things. Try buying up on carrots or green peppers the next time they are on sale. Dice them finely, lay them out on a small tray, and freeze them. Once they are frozen, scrape them off the tray and into one of these containers and replace them in the freezer. They will keep for a long time and when you need to add some ‘fresh’ carrots or peppers to a dish simply shake up the ‘recycled’ container to break the pieces up a bit and pour out what you need. Put the rest back in the freezer for another time.
If you take the time, you will find a number of things you already have that can have a second life AND give your budget a boost!