November 4, 2009

Green is the New Black: One Plastic Sandwich Bag At A Time...

Environmentally conscious living is, like, so totally in! Little efforts by individuals can compound to have a dramatic effect on saving natural resources and preventing waste. We really need to rethink our daily living if we want to affect change on a broader scale. In an effort to highlight how simple, daily choices we make can impact the environment, I decided to start this series, Green is the New Black, to post simple ideas where a little effort can go a long way!

Starting with: Plastic ziplocs! The excess of plastic in our waste stream is astounding. Even the most environmentally conscious among us cannot avoid it. Take, for example, this NRDC employee's collection of one week's worth of plastic:

So there are a lot of different ways to reduce our consumption of plastic, but what better place to start than plastic ziplocs.

One small change I decided to make was to clean and reuse plastic ziploc bags. While not using them at all would be better, for some things, they function much better than the more permanent alternatives. For example, I like to buy large quantities of food and sometimes cook large quantities, freezing the extra food or leftovers for later. Plastic bags work much better for space and maintaining the quality of the food in the freezer!

My husband calls me cheap, but I save more than money by reusing my plastic ziplocs! If you used five plastic baggies a week, say, for packing a lunch, that would be 260 plastic bags a year. If you use one bag a week instead, that is only 52, which is saving 208 plastic baggies a year! If you think about this on a broad scale, the waste and moolah saved on plastic ziplocs alone would add up to something significant! Plus, it just takes a few seconds while washing dishes to clean each bag.

After years of washing, rinsing, and hanging to dry baggies, I only recently discovered a new way of drying the baggies without having them strewn all over the kitchen... Little creative solutions can really make a difference :)

Ok, so maybe it's not that pretty... but it is much better than having them hanging on cups, utensils, and the kitchen sink faucet!

Happy ziploc washing!


  1. Only bad thing about that is the plastic breaks down and contaminates your food. There are, however, plastic bags made from plant fibers now. Also, some green boutiques carry handmade reusable sewn sandwich and snack bags for a few dollars each. Handy with the sewing machine? This would be a great project.

  2. Great idea Cara! I will keep my eyes open for these!