Little Things: Plastic bags

Last week, while sorting through our pantry, I came across a box of lawn garbage bags. This surprised me, as I had no memory of buying them. Actually, it was really surprising because I do not normally buy ANY kind of garbage bags. None. In fact, in my 15 years of home-ownership, I can guarantee those are the only garbage bags I have purchased. Instead, I reuse bags for my garbage needs. It is a Little Thing, but saving bags can make a big impact.

What started it…

My obsession with saving bags (and recycling in general) started with my copy of 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth, purchased from a Scholastic Book Order. Oh, how I loved that book! It showed how small changes are big deals, and how everyone can make a positive environmental difference. After reading the book I started saving all the plastic shopping bags that came into my possession. Because it was smart to reuse them, right? But eventually I learned that refusing bags was an even better option. But the bag saving trend continued.

When I bought my house, those saved bags became my garbage can liners. Fifteen years later we have never run out of garbage bags! Not that is not because we do not produce garbage (I wish). Rather, despite using cloth bags when shopping and otherwise refusing store bags, we still somehow accumulate them. People bring us things in plastic bags, or online purchases come with large bags that we save for garbage. Bags somehow show up from school, or we save them when others are throwing them out. And all that take out during the pandemic? We were overrun with plastic bags! So when our food shelf requested bags for patrons purchases, I was more than happy to give them our overstock. Another way to give more life to the bags!

Stash of plastic bags to reuse
What I call my “Bag O’ Bags”. Somehow it is overflowing, despite its recent purge.

It all makes a difference

I know, all of this bag saving may seem silly. But before poo-pooing my bleeding heart environmentalism, please stop and actually consider this. Plastic is a major world-wide problem, and it needs to get better now. EVERY SINGLE TIME we throw away or use something we do not need we are making a decision about our priorities. Not considering the final stop of what we use is an irresponsible bad habit we all need to break.

A box of garbage bags we forgot we even had
The one box of garbage bags hiding in the back of the topmost pantry shelf. Maybe 2 have been used.

While reusing those saved bags may not make a big change in your wallet, the change in mindset can be huge. And the example of one person can affect many others. We all have the ability to make positive changes with everything we do. On that note, I will leave you with a bag-saving pro-tip: those large bags from Costco freezer-section purchases are great to scoop kitty litter into…speaking from experience.

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