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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Plastic sandwich bag substitution

There's this idea that being frugal takes a lot of time.  But not every frugal thing we do takes more time than the standard way of doing things. For instance, I use vinegar, instead of a commercial product, to clean my windows and mirrors. I refill my spray bottle with vinegar as needed.

Another example of easy frugality --

Many families use disposable plastic sandwich bags.  I bought a box of sandwich bags about 3 years ago and still haven't used them all.  Instead, I have two other ways to seal up a sandwich and other items packed in lunches.

1) We use square, washable plastic containers.  I bought a set at Target several years ago.  (They are the Gladware brand, but I also believe Target has their own version.) They're just the right size for sandwiches.  And no trouble to use or clean.  I wash them on the top rack of the dishwasher.  Many families use these now.

2) There's one other thing I do that I think just hasn't occurred to most folks.  I reuse the plastic bags that commercially prepared foods come in.  For example, products like cereal, crackers and cake mixes come in a plastic bag inside of a cardboard box.  When I open those packages, instead of tearing the bag open, I use a pair of scissors to cut the top off the bag.  When the bag is empty I put it in a small box in the pantry.  I use these bags to package sandwiches, cookies, muffins, chips, popcorn, whatever I might be adding to lunches that day. If the bag is long enough I use a twist tie or bread bag clip to seal the bag. If it's a shorter bag I staple it shut (turn the end under twice and staple for a good seal).  Again, getting a second use out of food product bags takes neither extra time nor extra work, and it saves $ on sandwich bags.

It's not just the money-saving aspect I like, but also, I'm getting two uses out of each bag before it goes to the landfill.  I live in the Seattle area, where we're known for being "green".  This is something that's important to us. Until manufacturers come up with a "greener" way to package foods, I'll keep getting an extra use out of those bags.

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