Think Outside the Bag

Unconventional trash bags

According to the sustainability site Treehugger, there are 8 Rs. They are:

  • Reduce: Just use less.
  • Return: Producers should take back what they sell.
  • Reuse: Almost boring, but we throw too much stuff out too soon.
  • Repair: Fix and mend things rather than replacing them.
  • Refill: In Ontario Canada, 88% of beer bottles are returned to the beer store, washed and refilled; just south of the border in the USA, the number drops to under 5%.
  • Rot: Compost what is left over, turning it into valuable nutrients.
  • Refuse: Simply refuse to accept this crap from the manufacturers any more.
  • Recycle

I want to share a great idea for Reuse. Many of the larger bags for food or pet supplies are not recyclable. These are those thick, coarse, plastic-feeling bags that hold around 30-50 pounds of something. These make great trash bags!

Just stick them in your kitchen bin, or if you’re like me, your outside bin. Fill it up and then zip it close if it zips, or tape it shut. This is a great no-additional-cost-to-you solution for something you’re going to buy anyway and the bag is sturdier too!

This picture is pre-styrofoam recycling so forgive me. We just stuck this dog treat bag in our small kitchen bin and then once it was full we put it in the outside trash cart. At the time, we used more bags like these for dog treats, gluten-free baking power, rice, etc. So our trash cart was full of lots of small bags. It’s not a problem with the trash haulers. They just like bagged trash.

Here is a 45 pound of birdseed that I am sampling in my yard. I plan to use the bag for a trash bag when it’s empty.

Another Zero Waste Block Leader uses chip bags for their trash. Just 4-5 chip bags full of trash each week!

What clever ideas do you have for reuse?