Recycling Bags, Jars, and Other Containers

Today, I found a great article with tips on washing, drying and storing plastic bags.

I created my own drying rack this morning and it works really well! I used a taller glass jar filled with old dried beans (saved in case I wanted to make a pie crust someday! ha!) and 4 metal skewers. See article for details and photo!

Reusing Plastic Baggies

I always try to reuse my plastic zip bags, especially the freezer bags, but there is so much more to do.

How about produce bags from the grocery? I keep a stash of gently-used produce bags along-side my re-usable grocery/shopping bags so I always have a bag ready when I pick out my produce every week.

I’ve also found that it’s easy to also re-use citrus mesh bags for produce as well. Either at the store, or in the fridge to keep veggies like lettuce, celery or carrots fresh. The mesh allows the produce to “breathe” – and you can keep on using them again and again! I usually cut out the UPC barcode to prevent the cashier from accidentally scanning it again.

It’s also helpful to the local farmer if you bring your own produce bags to the farmer’s markets and farm stores. And speaking of farmers, I also try to give back the little berry/tomato pints & elastics so they can re-use for next time. If your local egg farmer wants their egg cartons back, be sure to do that as well.

One more use for older baggies is for your dog walks, especially ones that you don’t feel comfortable using again, like bags containing raw meat or oily substances. We have a little pouch filled with used plastic bags to pick up our dogs’ “business” – works great!

Glass Jars & Bottles

My buddy Angela over at Test Kitchen Tuesday reminded me that it’s also important to reuse glass jars.

I was saving my glass jars, but rarely used them for anything except to pour cooking grease for the trash. I was under the impression that jar covers were retaining the stronger odors, like salsa or jelly. Angela converted me. I’m now re-using my glass jars for storage: dried beans, grains, nuts, coconut, seeds. In the fridge or in the pantry, it all works!

As for retained odors, I have found that good air circulation is very helpful when the jars are empty. Don’t keep the lids tightly on the jar when you aren’t using them.

Glass jars and bottles are also great salad dressing shakers. And if you have too much dressing, you can easily store what’s left in the fridge.

One thing to keep in mind is most glass container lids do contain BPA, so be careful when re-using. I believe that it’s heat that causes the most problems with BPA, but you never can be too careful.

Other Plastic Containers

And one more item I like to reuse is plastic containers, like the ones from the bulk isle at Whole Foods; they’re great for storing dry goods, and also handy at parties when guests want to bring home leftovers. Empty quart-size yogurt containers are excellent for freezing soups and stock.

I like to think I’m a pretty good recycler, but I’m sure there are things I can improve on. I’m working on that.

Does anyone else have any ideas for reusing?

2 thoughts on “Recycling Bags, Jars, and Other Containers”

  1. Good job, Debbie! I just love a recycle-minded post. :)

    I take plastic bags to the grocery store to recycle, and put food scraps in a composter. It’s amazing how much trash you can reduce if you have a place to put the food scraps! I do miss my days in Seattle, though, where we had curbside composting with our yard waste, as it really takes two compost bins when doing it at home — one for “adding to” and one for just “cooking.”

  2. I have to get better with composting, although I don’t always have that much because I save all my veggie scraps in the freezer to make stock.

    I’ve also been making my own veggie plant food by saving DH’s old Keurig coffee grounds with egg shells & banana peels. I’m a little nervous about the banana peels though since they are not organic.

    :) thanks, as always for your comments, Angela!

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