Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Washing out the plastic bag

One of the oddest things I've heard around recently is that some people, in an effort to be environmentally conscious, wash out and reuse plastic Ziploc bags. This kind of puzzles me. Why would one wash out plastic bags instead of just using a plastic container that's designed to be washed multiple times and will last much longer? I don't ask to mock; I'm just curious as to the motivation. I have to say that most of the time I use Ziploc bags for such purposes as storing raw meat, and I would be dubious of the likelihood of getting all the crevices clean enough for reuse.


Anonymous said...

I agree...I just give our used plastic bags to the boys to use for cleaning out the catbox...they scoop it in there and zip it up. They get double use that way.
Hope you're having a blessed week!!

Entropy said...

The depression-era people I know that do this do it mostly with sandwich bags that they've taken for lunch.

Anonymous said...

We wash our sandwich bags from lunch time. You can use the bag several times and you can make a box of baggies last six months. Much cheaper.

bearing said...

Maybe because Ziploc bags take up a lot less room in your pantry than do rigid containers?

I don't do this, because I'm not really a very thrifty or green person, but *if* I wanted to spend less money on plastic bags, I'd rather wash and reuse the good ones than use the cheap ones and throw them away. The cheap ones don't work as well.

mrsdarwin said...


True, though by the same token it seems that that very rigidity will protect your food better than a plastic bag. (Cue memories of second grade lunch bags in which the sandwich always managed to end up on the bottom of the sack.)

I suppose this is where differing definitions of thrift come into play. At dinnertime we make sure we have at least one serving-size portion of leftovers, which I put in a plastic container for Darwin to take to work the next day. Some of our plastic containers we've had since we got married, which is times longer than any plastic bag ought to last, and they're still perfectly usable.

I tend to use plastic bags when I specifically want a disposable container.

Anonymous said...

I never wash used ziplock bags, I simply re-use them for picking up dog poop. I can't use the snack bags, because my dog produces more than the snack bag can hold. :)

Literacy-chic said...

My grandmother did this, but with gallon-sized plastic bags. Drove my grandfather nuts because he was concerned about whatever was staying in and on the plastic, which (he was convinced) you could NEVER clean completely. He may be right. But yeah, I always thought it was older people--Depression era.

ColleenD said...

I wash ziplocs. I turn them inside out and wash both sides. I can get them just as clean as any other plastic container. I hang them to dry and put them away to use for instances where a "sterile" bag is not necessary. some examples of these uses are: Packing a set of clothes in my children's suitcase, collecting bones and scraps for the dog, storing markers or crayons when the box disintegrates, storing beads and other small items.
The transparency and flexibility of the bags offer significant advantages over hard plastic storage containers. When a bag either gets a hole or is used for something very messy it is discarded, and I hate tossing out plastic every time i have to do it.

Nilsson said...

What's better, though, to dump the plastic in a landfill or to use precious water to wash them out? What's the marginal return to the environment? Anyone heard of an argument to this one?

Anonymous said... This might make it worthwhile.