Thursday, June 05, 2008

8 Ways to REUSE Plastic and Paper Bags

Living Green is easy when you stretch your mind to use regular everyday items for unusual things. Here are 8 ways you never thought you could use plastic and paper bags.

According to the Sierra Club reusing a bag meant for just one use has a big impact. A sturdy, reusable bag needs only be used 11 times to have a lower environmental impact than using 11 disposable plastic bags. When 1 ton of plastic bags is reused or recycled, the energy equivalent of 11 barrels of oil are saved.

Paper or Plastic?

The energy and other environmental impacts embodied in a plastic grocery bag is somewhat less than in a paper grocery bag. But paper is easier to recycle, being accepted in most recycling programs. The recycling rate for plastic bags is very low.

So, which is better for the environment? Neither! The fact is that the difference between paper and plastic RECYCLING is small compared with the REUSING bags.

Plastic Grocery bags

1. Cover your car’s side mirrors and windshield wipers plastic grocery bags, if you park outside in winter and you won’t have to scrape ice off in the a.m.

2. To protect small outdoor plants from frost at night, cover them with plastic grocery bags and tie the handles tightly around the pots. Be sure to take the bags off in the morning.

3. Don't buy fancy bags for travelling...When packing a suitcase, use the plastic grocery bags to keep shoes from soiling clothes and dirty things from clean ones.

4.Wrap drinking glasses and other fragile items when you’re moving. A layer of three or four plastic grocery bags around each piece provides enough protection and won’t leave nasty newspaper ink or annoying pieces of Styrofoam all over everything.

Paper Bags

1. Place unripe peaches, plums, or green tomatoes in a bag. The closed bag traps ethylene, the natural gas released by the ripening fruit (while still allowing a little ventilation), which helps it ripen faster.

2. To add an extra layer of weed deterrence to your garden, place plain bags, with no dye, on the soil around plants before adding mulch.

3. Save paper bags from the grocery store and use them to wrap parcel packages. That brown paper costs a lot more when you buy it in a roll.

4. Instead of throwing away your brown paper bags, reuse them. Cut them into squares about the size of paper towels. When you need to drain fried foods, line a plate with one or two of the squares. Top the squares with a paper towel to prevent the food from coming in direct contact with the paper bag. The paper bag squares will absorb an amazing amount of grease, and the toweling will last incredibly long.

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