We use at least five or six zip-top sandwich bags for packing apple slices and other items in our lunches each weekday. Mabzie buys snacks like animal crackers and packages them into her own "100 calorie packs". I know baggies are meant to be disposable- but why? They are so reusable I just can't bring myself to throw them away (unless they are really dirty, sticky or greasy).
I wash them whenever I have a few things to do by hand.. There are a few drying upside down right behind the Pyrex measuring cup in the image above. If they just have crumbs in them, I just rinse and dry. We are only on our second 100-count box this school year, instead of the box a month or more we used to use. It's not much trouble at all- I really think it's worth it. And you have to buy the fancy brand for them to last through many uses- we buy Walmart's Great Value.
We have almost eliminated disposables from our grocery list. We do buy paper napkins (we also use cloth when we're not being too messy) and paper towels (for cleaning windows and the stove top). And we keep a few paper plates and plastic ups on hand for picnics (I rinse out the cups and bring them home). I asked my husband and daughter if they could think of any other disposable goods we use and they both replied "toilet paper". My daughter added feminine products to the list. I know there are alternatives to both that can be washed and reused, but I feel safe in saying to you that we will never be taking the elimination of disposables quite that far!
Updated May 20, 2012
Some other views and articles on the subject:
- Fake West Coast Hippie hangs them on a little clothesline over the sink.
- The Simple Dollar thinks it's a waste of time, but his post got twenty comments.
- Mother Jones considers it an environmental issue.
- A Penny Closer tried this tip from The Tightwad Gazette and thought she might keep doing it.
What's interesting, too, is that some of these folks did it in the dishwasher... and it worked. Why didn't I think of that?