Updated: Aug 15
Brenda B. and Bandit, my Service Dog, are my Colorado walking buddies. We three walk indoors during the snowy winters. So when Brenda shared that she'd always recycled plastic bags, I knew I had a good article from a frugal-environmental-veteran, which we all need to be.
1. Brenda, when you grew up, you, like I, were raised by parents who had survived The Great Depression. Did their example motivate you to use plastic bags wisely, or how did their thriftiness influence you?
I don't know if I gave thriftiness a great deal of thought, except I remember the bags were more adaptable to spaces than the hard plastic of Tupperware. So if I look back, in my 1968 quick Google search, when I started living independently, Google tells me the word "reusable" was to the marketing of the formerly called 'sandwich bag.' I would have just started living independently away from my parents' home. So reusable would have significantly impacted my mind as A WAY TO SAVE MONEY. I suspect a large portion of the population may have felt the same.
2. When Ziploc Storage Bags came to market in 1968 through Dow Chemical Company, did you begin recycling them then? How do you wash, rinse, dry, and store them, so they are easily reused?
Yes, I did begin recycling them because reuse equals savings. Just wash them out by hand and hang the wet bag over a wine bottle or Titos vodka bottle. Martha, I know you have a sister, Becky, who is a master at recycling plastic bags. How does she do it?
Here's what Becky Wild of Washington state says about her system.
"I almost always reuse Ziplocs; however, I'm trying to wean myself from them. I'll wash them with soap and water, then turn them inside out and let them dry on my dish drainer until they are mostly dry; then, I'll hang them on the drying rack to completely dry. For vegetable bags, I don't wash them that much. I tend to turn them inside out and hang them on the shelf. Once they are dry, I will shake any debris off of them. Then I stick them into that bag on the left side of the hanging rack. I will put some in my reusable grocery sacks, if I remember to take them, and reuse them at the grocery and farmers' market.
I now have a bamboo Ziploc bag drying rack with clothespins over the sink in the laundry room, but I kept it in the pantry before that.
I wish I could completely wean myself from plastic bags. And plastic in general. There is a great website that addresses our dependence on plastic called the "story of stuff." They have some insightful animated shorts about plastic. That non-profit also has something called catalog choice, where you can opt out of getting junk mail. It's cut my junk mail to almost nothing. The story of stuff youtube - Search (bing.com)"
3. Brenda, do you think the amount you save by recycling zipper bags is worth the effort? Do you know environmentally what your one small action adds up to, especially if everyone would commit to reusing plastic bags?
My logical belief then would be the same as my belief is today. If you pay money for an item and reuse it, you do not need to continue paying the same amount if you used it once and threw it away.
4. Do you have any other Frugal Tips for saving money or the environment for my readers?
Martha, I wish we might all consider the benefits of "reusable" in our lives. Frugality, yes, and also reducing the waste, we create.
Then God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit according to their kind with seed in them," and it was so.
Martha Wild King, M.Ed., Author
The Frugal Catholic: Learn to live on less to give and save more.