Monday, October 6, 2008

Day 7, You Wash What??!! (93...Free!)

Lizzi came home from soccer practice, rather amused. Each player brings her own snacks from home. After this particular snack time, Lizzi was one of the only kids left in the area and the following conversation ensued...

Soccer Coach: Lizzi, pick up the snack garbage.

Lizzi looks around.

Lizzi: But none of it's mine.

Coach looks at all the wrappers on the ground.

Coach: What?

Lizzi: My mom doesn't buy pre-wrapped snacks.

Coach: Oh. Well, you probably tossed your bag then.

Lizzi: No, I didn't. I put it in my backpack to take home. My mom washes all our bags.

Coach: She does what??

Lizzi: She washes the bags and we use them again.

Coach: Oh. I never thought of that.

Lizzi: And if we have plastic to throw away, we collect it and take it to a plastic recycling center. [Thanks, Lisa!]

Coach: I didn't know you could do that.

My "Bag Washing 101" training began at birth, I believe. I have washed bags all my life. I don't think the object was ever frugality (although it certainly saves $) as much as it was saving the landfill from excess waste.

These days, we wash all zippered bags in hot, soapy water, and reuse them. I turn them inside out and set them upright on a clean dishtowel to dry or hang them (esp. large ones) from magnetic clips on my fridge or over my oven (when it's off!) If a bag is used to hold meat, I dispose it.

I used to wash all breadbags. With 'LilDude's gluten intolerance (we buy bread for the rest of the family), I've taken to recycling the bags so as not to cross-contaminate his food.

Lizzi mentioned a big money-saver in our home...we don't buy pre-packaged snacks. Manufacturers charge a huge amount to do the packaging for you. I don't need that help, thank you. ;) We buy larger boxes or bags of items (pretzels, crackers, dried fruit, etc...) and individually package them as needed.

And wash the bags when we're done. :)

Honestly, I'm more disturbed by all the packaging waste that comes with snacks than I am by the lost money. If I had to, I'd pay more to prevent all that garbage from ending up in the landfill. Luckily, it's actually the other way 'round. :)

Oh, and whenever possible, we don't use bags at all. 'LilDude brings a snack to kindergarten everyday in a dishwasher-safe plastic container. He's been great about returning them to his backpack everyday. So far this year, his snacks have included grapes (backyard), cherry tomatoes (garden), crackers/cereal/pretzels (gluten free), dried fruit, nuts, etc...

1 comment:

Kristin said...

I'm a life-long bag-washer/saver myself. Lately the bread bags have become overwhelming, however, so I shake out the crumbs and recycle them. Ziploc bags get used over and over again, however. I am sorry when I have to buy a new box, but it happens very rarely. I do dislike the constant clutter of air-drying bags in the kitchen, but I don't want to take the time to hand-dry them, either.

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