Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Maxing Out the Plastic...the Other Kind

In our house we believe in maxing out the plastic. No, not credit cards. The plastic that has become so ubiquitous in our society. Not a fan of plastics because of the havoc they can have on the environment, aka the Pacific Garbage Patch, I try to max out the utility of each piece I purchase. My first line of defense is to NOT purchase plastics, but that is near impossible in our society. The trunk of my car has a stash of cloth bags that we pull out when going shopping. An added bonus is that most stores will knock 5 or 10 cents off the bill for each bag. Yet, plastic is in my home.

Here are five ways I get the most out of each item:
  1. Trash can liners. Instead of pulling the bag out each week when I empty the trash, I dump the contents into one large bag. Usually from the kitchen of the can near the litter box. I can usually get several uses out of one bag before it needs to be "trashed". The ultra frugal approach is to use an plastic bags you acquire as liners and avoid purchasing garbage bags all together. This usually works well for bathroom trash;
  2. Shower liner. When you have two kids in diapers and two spouses with their own businesses, something as simple has finding the time to give the shower a thorough cleaning can be the highlight of your evening. As I scrubbed our back shower, I discovered that the plastic liner need a good cleaning. Remembering a tip from The Queen of Clean, I pulled it down and tossed it in the washer with a towel and set it for a light wash. Twenty minutes later it was like new and drip drying in the basement; and
  3. Wash and dry plastic lunch bags. I've blogged about this in the past, but felt it was worth another mention. We often eat away from home and plastic lunch bags are easy for transporting goodies. I purposely buy the freezer kind so that they are more durable. The easiest way to clean them is to turn them inside out, wash, and let dry. You can tuck them back in the box and get multiple uses;
  4. Baby Bottle Brush Reincarnation. Our baby has turned into a toddler and left her bottle days behind us. Yet, the bottle brush still sits next to the sink. It now serves as a great means of drying the above mentioned plastic bags; and
  5. Reuse bread bags. Occasionally we will purchase commercial bread. When we do, I wash, dry, and store the bag for when I make my own bread in the bread machine.
There you have it, five was to max out the plastic in your life. Frugally wise and environmentally kind.

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