Welcome to the 34th "Green" Tips Message. This message is sent to all subscribing users on a weekly basis providing simple tips on becoming more Green! This article is part of Earth911’s series, where they showcase ways to green your life in various areas.This week's message provides simple tips on:
Save Money: Plastic Bags
1. Basic Reuse Ideas
During our research, we literally found hundreds of ways to reuse your plastic bags. So, let’s run through a few of our favorite picks from these “basic” ideas, in case you need some quick fixes that don’t involve a sewing machine or the hot glue gun (read below for those fun crafts!):
- Traveling – Wrap bottles of shampoo, lotion and the like in an old plastic bag. This is also an easy trick for dirty shoes or any other item in your suitcase with the potential to ruin your silk skirt or fancy tie en route to the next big meeting or family vacation.
- Trash can liners – This may seem like a no-brainer, but why buy small plastic bags to line your wastebaskets in your bathroom or home office when you’re already bringing home grocery bags that fit these smaller bins? Don’t spend money on a redundant product and prevent the need to manufacture more bags as well with this simple idea.
- Packing materials – Whether you’re shipping a box to your Great Aunt Dede or simply putting an old purse or pair of shoes in storage, plastic bags offer an easy-to-use material to keep your items safe and in working order. Simply ball them up to use as cushion or filler as needed. The savings? Keeping your items pristine, of course!
- Reuse it – Literally. Since a typical plastic bag weighs approximately 4 to 5 grams and can hold up to 17 pounds of product – nearly 2,000 times its own weight – they are perfect for multiple uses as a carrying device. Pack your lunch or use them to bring home groceries a few times before recycling them (see section #4). If you’re concerned about the environmental impact of reusable bags, which are typically non-recyclable, this is a great way to avoid spending extra cash on those measures.
2. Make Like a Chicken: Items for Your Home
There are some really fun ways to reuse a plastic bag that add flair to your home’s decor. If you’re the ambitious sort, then go for one of these projects, all of which use cheap and/or free materials to add spunk and spontaneity (on a budget) to your home:
- Placemats – How cute are these crocheted placemats from CreativeJewishMom.com? Follow her easy, step-by-step instructions for turning your plain grocery sacks into a kitschy addition to your table.
- Rugs and sleeping mats – Tried a placemat and ready to go bigger? Create your own, multi-colored floormat from recycled plastic bags. Or, if you’re feeling philanthropic, expand your floormat project to a sleeping mat that can be donated to a local homeless shelter. We love this project from a church in Illinois and this blanket project by a school in Florida as examples.
- Furniture – Check out Ryan Frank’s rad illustration of how plastic bags can be reused in a more durable fashion, such as a chair. This may definitely be one of our most time-consuming projects, but if you’ve got the desire, it’s well worth trying!
- Flowers – They may look lovely and fresh, but these flowers don’t need any watering. Check out Sustainlane’s how-to on transforming plastic bags into fresh flora.
- A Chicken – We just love this fun reuse craft from South Africa, which made it into our 2008 Gift Guide. You can definitely try your own hand and save a few bucks, or purchase this chicken to support a local group in Cape Town.
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