Friday, August 3, 2007

Day Thirty-Seven - Zip-a-dee-doo-da

Reusing Ziplock Baggies

I'm trying to reduce the plastic waste I create by as much as possible and this is my latest little attempt. I bought a big box of Ziplock Gallon Sized Freezer Bags before my eco-change and I still have more than half the box left. Actually, I still have nearly all the bags, they're just in various states of new and re-use.

My Dad used to occasionallly rinse out ziplocks for use and at the time I thought he had a little too much free time on his hands, but now that I think about, it just makes sense. I, however, have an irrational OCD-like fear of food cross-contamination and would have worried that bagels would have ended up in bags previously used to store onions or something (which, of course, would cause the world to tilt too far on its axis and plunge the earth into a death-spiral towards the sun). Solution? One Sharpie Marker.

That's right. I now have a drawer full of Ziplocks, all neatly labeled with various food categories such as "Breads", "Summer Vegetables", "Lettuce", "Onions / Garlic", "Leftover Meats". It's like having a complete storage system in the space of, well, a Ziplock.

Another nice thing about this, is it has created a new job for my previously disenfranchised paper towel holder. When a Ziplock gets food particles on the inside, I turn it inside-out, give it a little bath and hang it on the re-employed towel holder. Ta Da!

So far, in the span of a month, I've only had one baggie that had to get thrown out -- somehow I had managed to slice a hole in it. I should have repurposed it for dog-poop duty or something, but I felt that, due to its lengthy service, it deserved better than that.


I used to go through a box of baggies (25 Ziplocks) every two weeks or so. If I am a little more careful and keep sharp knives away from the Zips, I should be able to go at least six months -- EASY. That's a savings of 275 Ziplock baggies in six months or 550 in a year. That's a HUGE Savings! See, even "disposable" products don't always have to be tossed after just one use!

Difficulty Level - 1 out of 5

If you have strange food-touching-different-food neurosis like me, you'll DEFINITELY want to label your baggies. If you're more of a free spirit, you don't even need to do that.

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