With more and more people becoming environmentally conscious of their own actions, attentions have turned to ways that plastic items can be reused or recycled instead of being wasted after one use and condemned to Life in a Landfill, where they neither rot nor decompose. Plastic bags especially are littering highways and dump sites, and many people have been trying to find ways to reuse and recycle these bags, or to even cut them out altogether by replacing them with cloth bags.
Replacing Plastic Bags
One way to cut down on the clutter of plastic bags is to cut them out completely, replacing them with reusable alternatives such as cloth bags, which can be purchased online or at most grocery or retail stores. Even one cloth bag can cut down on hundreds of plastic bags in its lifetime, making it a viable option to replace plastic bags. Furthermore, customers can also choose to carry their groceries in paper bags, which can also be reuses or simply thrown away, since they are biodegradable and as such are not an environmental concern like plastic bags.
Reusing and Recycling Plastic Bags
For those looking to find alternative solutions to plastic bags, there are a plethora of options available to keep them off of the streets and out of landfills; if every plastic bag were reused just one more time, the clutter in landfills would be greatly diminished. The simple answer is to reuse grocery bags as grocery bags by taking them back to the store instead of getting new plastic bags; furthermore, many grocery stores will have a plastic bag recycling area where customers can leave old plastic bags to be reused in the future.
Upcycling Plastic Bags
For those looking for more creative solutions, plastic bags make great trash-can liners, and are great for disposing of diapers or other such items, as it helps to diminish the odor somewhat. Plastic bags are great for storing dirty shoes or boots in, and they are also handy to take on camping trips, where one might need to store trash or smelly, used garments. Keeping a plastic bag or two in the car can make it easier to clean up or dispose of garbage in emergency situations. Furthermore, plastic bags make great packing material, since they are easier to manage than peanuts or other such materials.
Plastic bags can also be used for many craft purposes. They can be tied around paintbrushes to temporarily keep them from drying out, or they can be placed under a painting tray to alleviate the hassle of cleaning up. Plastic bags can be stuffed inside pillows, to add some support, or into purses, to help them keep their shape while they are not in use. Plastic bags can be great for storing and organizing various items, such as manuals for yard equipment, which can be hung in the garage, or holiday decorations in the off-season.
As can be seen, there are countless ways to reuse or “up-cycle” plastic bags—the list above just scrapes the tip of the iceberg—as long as a little creativity and ingenuity is involved. If everyone could lengthen the lifespan of a plastic bag from simply one to two uses, that would cut their prevalence in landfills by half, and their efficacy certainly transcend one use, as can be seen above. One need not stop using them entirely in order to better help the environment.
Ryan Devereux knows that being green is your first priority for the planet. That’s why he writes on behalf of Alternate Energy who believes that renewable energy is the future.
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