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Denninmi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-19-11 06:34 PM
Original message
Reusing plastic zipper bags???
Does anyone do this?

Perhaps its an exercise in foolishness, but I decided that I was being wasteful by using zipper type storage bags and then just throwing them away. So, I saved all of the bags I emptied this past week -- bags I used to pack my lunch for work, that I emptied from things I had frozen at home (produce, meats, cheese, bread), and those I used to repack fresh produce in the fridge.

I washed them with Dawn and hot water, turning them inside out a couple of times and swishing them around really well. Then, they were all rinsed in weak bleach solution. I didn't think it would be very practical to dry them all - hand drying would take a LOT of time, and I don't have any kind of rack to let them sit and fully air dry. So, instead, I shook as much water out of them as possible, and then flattened, rolled, and popped them into the freezer.

This seemed to work well. None of them seem to have any residue (I was most concerned about grease), nor any residual odor.

But, it is time consuming.

I counted them today -- in a week, I've used and then recycled for reuse about 30 bags of different sizes -- sandwich, quart, and gallon.

Not sure it's really worth the effort, but it seems like one way to stop being so wasteful. I really dislike the fact that out society throws so much away.
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Curmudgeoness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-19-11 07:29 PM
Response to Original message
1. OK, I will admit it. My mother always did this, and my sisters do it too.
Mom was a depression era child and took the "waste not, want not" mantra to heart. People think we are nuts, but I could care less. I always buy the freezer bags because they hold up better over the long term.

We don't wash them as diligently as you do, we just wash them when we do the dishes (yes, we do dishes in the sink) so it isn't a big chore for us. I just wash them and rinse them. To dry them, I have refrigerator magnets and I put them inside the bag and stick it up on the frig so that the bag is open. Try to make sure they are shaken out well first or they will drip all over the floor. Note: if it matters to you what people think, don't have the bags all over the frig when company comes. People just don't get it.

This keeps you from wasting them, it takes no space to dry them, and saves tons of money. I will have the same box of zip-locks for five years before I have to buy another box. However, I have found that the zippers do not hold up as long as the zip-locks. For some reason, the zippers just break.

Good luck with this, if you have that many bags in such a short time, it looks like this will be a great money saver for you.

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lizziegrace Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-19-11 08:39 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. I wash as many as I can with Dawn and very hot water.
I hang them on the clothesline to dry when it's a calm day. I freeze produce from the garden with vacuum sealer and wash and reuse many of those expensive bags too.

I use reusable containers mostly and use extra canning jars for storage in the pantry and refrigerator.
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Curmudgeoness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-19-11 10:03 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. It's good to know I am not alone. But tell me,
do you wash your aluminum foil and reuse it? Again, just like with the heavier duty bags, I buy the heavy duty foil.

I like that you have canning jars and instead freeze the garden produce, I do that too. So much easier and I am lazy when I can.
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lizziegrace Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-19-11 10:24 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. I don't reuse foil
Edited on Sat Feb-19-11 10:32 PM by lizziegrace
but I do rinse and recycle it. I figure they take aluminum cans, right?

I use my freezer for produce until it's full (small chest freezer) and then can. I don't want my entire harvest to be tied up in a freezer that could fail. Or we could have an extended power outage. (I live on 4 acres in a pretty rural area.)

As the produce gets used up, I stock up on chicken and fish on sale.
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Paper Roses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-20-11 05:50 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. I do the same thing as you. Not only do I use the zip and sliders,
I have some of the 'green bags'. Wash in dishwater, wipe inside and out, then magnet them open and attach to refrig.
Takes only a day to dry. I then add them to my 'bog of bags' that I have in the kitchen closet. I have never had any problem doing this. When the bags get to the point where they won't seal, I may use an elastic over the folded bag. Too far gone, then into the trash.

This habit came to me easily, Mom used to do the same years ago when plastic bags were a novelty. Every economy helps.
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Denninmi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-20-11 12:23 PM
Response to Original message
6. Well, at least I'm not alone in this.
I had the thought of hanging them out on the line to dry, but not going to do that in February, and it was quite windy here yesterday anyway.

I may try that in the spring/summer.

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Lars39 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-20-11 12:40 PM
Response to Original message
7. Just grabbed the first one I found:
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Paper Roses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-20-11 12:58 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. I just looked. Seems like these dryers are about a 1 X5 piece of wood
with holes drilled opposite one another. Dowels cut to desired length.

Could save some money and make it yourself. That is what I'm going to do. Have about a 12" or so piece of pine about 5+ inches wide. I'll drill 3/8 inch holes and pick up some dowels at the hardware store and cut to about 10 inches. A little glue on the dowel base and push in. If I get ambitious, I'll varnish it. Thanks for finding this solution in line. I never thought to look for any other way to dry bags.
Probably cost around 2 dollars to complete, and that would be for the dowels.
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mntleo2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-23-11 09:19 PM
Response to Reply #8
13. You could also use pegboard couldn't you?
With hooks in them and a magnet glued on the back to stick on the side of the fridge and hang bags from them?

Just brain stormin' here ...

Cat in Seattle
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CaliforniaPeggy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-23-11 11:14 PM
Response to Original message
9. I reuse mine till they get a hole, or mold...
I too have a plastic bag dryer. It looks like this one:

http://www.greenfeet.com/itemdesc.asp?kw=Plastic-Bag-Dr...

It doesn't take up much space, and it's good for bottles too.

I wash mine with anything I need to handwash after dinner, and the bags are normally dry by the next morning.

BTW, this link is not where I got mine. But it looks identical.

:hi:
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lbrtbell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-28-11 08:38 PM
Response to Original message
10. A very important thing to bear in mind
Not all bags are free from chemicals like BPA, that can leech onto your food--they're not even safe during the first use. I use Zip-Loc for foods, because they're said to be BPA-free. But once I put food in those, I ditch them; I've had food poisoning enough times, thankyouverymuch. :D

I do use off-brand zipper bags for all sorts of non-food storage solutions, and I re-use the heck out of those. Bags like that are a godsend when traveling!

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GoCubsGo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-08-11 02:41 PM
Response to Original message
11. I will reuse mine up to a point.
If I can't get them clean, or they start turning opaque, they become disposal units for used kitty litter. Also, I tend to avoid reusing any that once stored chicken or any other sort of meat.
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trud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 08:40 AM
Response to Original message
12. I try not to get them in the first place.
It can be done, although not perfectly.

I used a metal lunch box and paper bags for sandwiches before I retired. Paper bags fr that can be reused up to a point. I'm more a canner than a freezer, plus then stuff won't spoil in a power failure in a disaster.
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