If your shopping trips to the grocery store are anything like mine, by the time you’ve unpacked everything, you have more plastic grocery bags than you know what to do with. In an effort to be “green” many people try to recycle these bags along with the rest of their recyclables in their curbside container. Unfortunately, here at Rumpke, we cannot accept plastic bags in our program. They can become quite a nuisance at the recycling plants; if one gets caught in the machinery, the entire plant can be shut down.
This doesn’t mean that the plastic bags have to end up in the landfill. Check out the list below for 10 ways to reuse plastic grocery bags.
1. Use them as trash bags in small garbage cans.
2. No recycling at work? Bring a plastic bag to store bottles, paper, or cans to take home and recycle.
3. Instead of packing peanuts or tissue paper, try using plastic bags as cushion when shipping packages.
4. Exchange your brown paper lunch bag for a plastic grocery bag at lunchtime.
5. Stuff a few plastic bags in your suitcase to store dirty laundry while traveling.
6. Wrap fragile Christmas ornaments in plastic bags before storing in the attic.
7. Going somewhere muddy? Keep the car clean by storing a few plastic bags for dirty shoes.
8. Minimize the odor of dirty diapers by placing them in plastic bags before throwing away; toss a few in the diaper bag to use while out.
9. Use them at your next yard sale or donate them to a used book sale for purchases.
10. Bring the plastic bags back to the store—grocery stores often have places to deposit plastic bags to be recycled.
There are plenty of other ways to reuse plastic grocery bags so be creative! If you have any questions about other items that can or cannot be recycled at Rumpke, learn more about Rumpke residential recycling.
About the author: Maureen Ray is the corporate communications intern for Rumpke.