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Wiser Living

Finding a natural solution

Green Your Life: It’s in the Bag

by Dani Hurst

Tags: green your life, dani hurst, reusable bags, plastic bags,

A lot can happen if you don’t pay close attention to your shopping habits. You could end up with a wardrobe consisting of the same two colors. You could blow your rent money on a new digital camera.

You could also eventually build up an arsenal of plastic bags and not have any idea what to do with them.

Photo by The BrassPotato/Courtesy flickr

I have fallen victim to all of these pitfalls, and while I have taken measures to rectify the first two, I find myself constantly swimming in plastic bags, shoving them into cabinets just to keep them out of sight. Well, I will shove no more! It’s time to use plastic bag alternatives, and to make as much use of the bags I’ve accidentally collected.

• The best way to cut down on plastic bag buildup is to avoid plastic bags all together. Switching to more sustainable options, like canvas or burlap, is easy and stylish. Many grocery stores sell some sort of tote bag, usually made of canvas or recycled plastic, with their logo on it. You can also buy bags from other stores, such as Baggy Shirts, which makes bags out of recycled clothing.

• While buying the canvas bag is the first step, you have to actually use it for it to be effective. I’ve bought so many bags for grocery shopping, but I have yet to ever really use them. I either forget them at home or end up buying more than can fit in the ones I did bring. To combat this problem, I’m going to start keeping them in my trunk so I am never without at least a few.

So, what about the plastic bags I have stashed around my apartment?

• So far, I’ve mainly used mine to line the small trash cans in my bathroom and by my bed. I know they’re still going in the trash, but at least they’re serving a purpose instead of just taking up space.

• I don’t have a dog or cat (yet), so I have no poop to scoop. However, for those of you who do, plastic bags can make cleaning up after your pet a little less stomach-churning. This is the same concept as using them to line trash cans; they’re still being thrown away (bad), but they’re being put to good use.

• Possibilities abound for craft projects using plastic bags. From making plastic bag yarn to knitting an entire ensemble out of plastic bags, Craftzine has you covered.

• Try this do-it-yourself project from Natural Home. It provides step-by-step instructions for making durable lunch totes from unwanted plastic bags. Just another way to green your lunch.

• Check out this feature on shoes made from plastic bags. You might not be able to make them yourself, but perhaps it will inspire your own creativity.

Cutting down on plastic bags, and responsibly reusing the ones you have, is yet another step toward full-on greendom.