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Reusing zip-lock bags (3) Tue, Nov 18, 2008
When I was growing up, I thought my family was poor.  Other kids had plastic sandwich bags that zipped shut; I was stuck with those stupid ones with the flap that folds over, which really didn't work at all.  But then the day came:  My mom started buying zip-lock bags.  I figured we must've won the lottery or somehow made it big.  Zip-lock bags = success in life. 

But then it started going downhill.  I would notice a bag or two sitting next to the dish drainer.  I would wonder, "Who left these used bags out?  They belong in the trash."  And then I caught my mom in the act -- she was washing the bags after using them, giving them a second life they didn't deserve at all.  I was back to square one.  My family was so poor, we had to reuse zip-lock bags. 

I went through a phase in early adulthood where my trips to the supermarket were a statement of rebellion against how I was raised.  I bought zip-lock bags.  I bought draw-string trash bags.  I bought candy and cookies, and often did so without thinking about it beforehand, i.e. spur of the moment.  I was successfully misdirecting my rage into shopping, which I've heard is a good idea.  And those zip-lock bags I bought?  Sometimes I would just throw them in the trash for the fun of it, without even using them, simply because I could.  (I'm kidding, of course.)

Fast forward a few years, and here I am, in my kitchen, washing dishes ... and plastic zip-lock bags.  I was opposed to it at first.  We make enough money to buy all the plastic zip-lock bags in the world, but it's not about the money.  [Serious moment coming]  It's about the landfills.  Most times we use a plastic bag, we simply throw it in the trash when we're done because that's what you do with disposable things.  That's why plastic was invented in the first place (or something along those lines).  But if you reuse a bag even once, you've effectively doubled the lifespan of that bag.  It lasted 100% longer than it was intended.  And I think that's a start.  Since plastic in landfills will essentially never go away, I think it would be a good idea to cut down on the source, which turns out to be me.  So now not only do I reuse zip-lock bags (washing them isn't so bad), I reuse plastic shopping bags as well (at least the ones that haven't been used for the transport of cat excrement).  And I recycle, even though I'm not fully convinced it's real.  In general, I think it's a good idea to cut down on disposable things and try to reuse as much as possible.  It probably won't help much, but it's something. #science

Wendy Wed, Nov 19, 2008
I'm so proud...

Mom Fri, Nov 21, 2008
Hum...I didn't realize my "reuse" of zip-lock bags was such a issue.  But I just thought I'd let you know that I still do it - as long as the bag didn't have anything messy in it the first time (like meat or cheese).  I guess I was just trying to do my thing for the environment, and I'm glad you got the lesson!

Anonymous Tue, Dec 09, 2008
I was raised by two parents who lived through the depression.  Mom would save "string" and "twine" from packages to use for a dozen other uses, and I can remember her saving aluminum foil pieces (that weren't used to cover the turkey or anything) and re-use them over and over.  I think it's not really a "choice" per se, re-using items such as plastic wrap, aluminum foil, string, etc. was a necessity based on the nature of living through the depression. You never knew when it was going to happen again.  And...it just may...and we'll be ready with our drawers full of items that we can re-use.  The only one I haven't figure out is cat litter!

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