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Casa Verde: Wash and Reuse Your Plastic Bags

I used to give my dad a hard time about being a cheapskate because he washed and reused his Ziploc bags. But as I've become more eco-minded, I realize how wasteful it is to toss a baggie after just one use. Here are some tips on how to get more mileage out of your plastic sandwich and freezer bags.

  1. Taking a sandwich or a snack to work every day? As long as the food is something relatively dry, such as bread, carrots, or pretzels, you should save the bag when you're done and just repack it the next day.
  2. For wet or sticky foods, wash your plastic bag with hot water and soap at the end of the day, then allow it to dry before using it again.
  3. The same goes for plastic freezer bags. Unless you’re storing raw chicken or something similar, storage bags rarely get so tainted that you need to toss them after one use. A little hot water, dish soap, and rinsing, and they’re ready to store something else.
  4. To dry the bags, try stringing a mini clothesline over the kitchen sink and drying the bags upside-down with clothespins. Or, buy a rack like this Plastic Bag and Bottle Dryer ($15.95) and set it up next to your dish rack.
Join The Conversation
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
Oh Please, no way would i use this. I bring tupperware instead of bags anyway.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
I don't really use baggies but I definitely reuse the ones that don't have anything on them. My husband cleans them when they get sticky but I personally do not bother.
pixelhaze pixelhaze 9 years
I just use plastic containers. Those are meant to be reused, and are microwave and dishwasher safe. And here's a thought - if you're wasting less bags, aren't you wasting more soap, water, sponges, and paper towels?
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
i don't usually use plastic bags - i have glass containers with rubbery/plastic lids... these are great to bake in/put in the toaster oven etc and then just put the top on it to stoe it. i use these for school lunches and just everything. the containers are around 5$ for square ones or about $15 for a larger one to bake in.
lms lms 9 years
My mom does this and trys to get me to do it. I honestly don't think it will happen. I use various size tupperware dishes instead.
millarci millarci 9 years
Wow I guess a lot of moms do this! I think I'm going to get one for my mom. It's better than her hanging it on the kitchen facet. Thanks for posting this, CasaSugar! Very useful!
laurarose520 laurarose520 9 years
My mom totally does this and I probably will do when I move out.
misslarue misslarue 9 years
great idea! i have always tossed them after one use, but now i am rethinking that.
d_ford d_ford 9 years
I wish I could get my fianceé to do this. I'll put a ziploc bag in the sink to be washed, but when he does the dishes, he just throws them out.
ionfash ionfash 9 years
I've never heard of people doing this. Some plastic bags are not durable enough to keep washing like that but the the idea behind it is good for the environment. But I don't really use plastic storage bags. I just use rubbermaid containers for my lunch. I think those are better since they're meant to be used over and over and will last a very long time.
darkbeauty darkbeauty 9 years
I use tupperware for my everyday lunches. Since it's meant to be washed it can hold up for a really long time.
karisaamy karisaamy 9 years
If only I could get my husband to bring home is bags from lunch I would do this. I think it's a lost cause.
Lorelei-Spirit Lorelei-Spirit 9 years
I have been using the same box of ziploc bags for 3 months now... I do throw them away after a few uses, but they definitely get used more than once.
sauer929 sauer929 9 years
you're right sofi... Ziploc and other plastic bags along with water bottles and some plastic containers are not designed to be washed and reused. They begin to leach toxic chemicals like pcbs into your food and liquids. It's better to buy containers and bottles made of non-leaching plastics or other materials (like nalgene bottles!)than to reuse like this
sparklemeetspop sparklemeetspop 9 years
I thought my mom was the only one to do this, but it totally makes sense.
Tech Tech 9 years
Love it! My mom has always washed and re-used our ziploc bags.. for years! Maybe kinda ewww, but now that my sisters and I have all moved out, we laugh that we do the same thing! I'm trying to get my boyfriend to re-use them as well, although he says we can just 'buy more'. I definitely think they should be treated like a glass or plate- wash and reuse!
sofi sofi 9 years
I do this occasionally because it seems like such a waste to toss so many bags. The only thing that makes me somewhat apprehensive is the research I've done and read in regards to plastics. I know it is the case with plastic water bottles that they are not designed to be reused because the plastic can release certain chemicals. Now the amounts are minimal but probably additive. To me, it makes more sense to reuse these products, but just a thought about certain chemicals that can be released with reuse....
ALSW ALSW 9 years
I like the idea for plastic baggies, but I usually thaw things out in the freezer bags, so I wouldn't want to reuse those!
nikkih nikkih 9 years
I've done this plenty of times, but I thought I was just being cheap. Turns out, I'm saving the planet. Yay!!
Rain-Moon Rain-Moon 9 years
This is a good idea and have been doing it for years. One note, however, I have heard that it is not advisable to reuse bags that have stored raw meat products.
bfly1133 bfly1133 9 years
This is a great idea and nice on the pocket book as well. I don't use plastic bags very often though. I am more of re-user of things like jars. :)
melyshka melyshka 9 years
i knew friends that would do this w/ their bulk bin plastic bags from the grocery store too. i never did it, but i think i'm going to start cleaning the messier bags. i def have reused sandwich and chip bags for lunch. it's just so easy...
books-and-shoes books-and-shoes 9 years
Wow, people actually do this? It is economical and environmentally friendly...
redegg redegg 9 years
OMG, I'm back on my grandmother's ranch.
glamorouswink glamorouswink 9 years
I used to laugh at my mom everytime she would reuse and wash plastic bags.... now i say good for her!!!
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