Supermarkets everywhere are attempting to limit the use of carrier bags and with good reason. The plastic is bad for the environment since it breaks down so slowly and the bags cost them money to produce. Besides that, no one knows how many people just throw their carrier bags away in the kitchen bin. I like this in theory, but every time I go to the supermarket I inevitably forget the reusable bag I bought the last time. Eventually, I just resigned myself to asking for regular carrier bags every time. But I don’t like to throw the bags away in the bin. It’s wasteful and I’m always reminded of the poor animals that might get trapped in or suffocate on the plastic. To avoid guilt, I always reuse my carrier bags. Here are just a few ways I do it:
Use them as bin liners. They’re perfect for a small kitchen bin or bathroom bin. This may be the easiest and most convenient choice. You save money and time; your reuse is helping the environment because you were going to use a bin bag anyway.
Carry your lunch to work in one. Almost all of my work mates and I use these free bags as impromptu lunch boxes. They’re already easy to carry and will hold on to your lunch with no added expense. If you don’t bring your lunch to work already, you might consider it – it’s a great way to save money and frees up the time you would have otherwise spent queuing for a sandwich or waiting in a restaurant.
Keep them in the cupboard for small jobs. I use them to take my clothes from the washer in the kitchen to the tumble dryer in the garage, for example. They’re also handy to wrap up extra stinky food waste before putting in the bin, to prevent the smell from getting all over your house. There are a number of carrier bag storers available, so it’s easy to put them away and get them back out when necessary.
Use them for storage. Obviously not everything is suitable to be stored in a plastic bag, but anything that is also made of plastic can be sorted and put into an appropriate bag. I have used my carrier bags for moving and on trips, just because it’s easy to pull out a bag and put stuff in it, especially if my suitcases are already full.
If you really can’t think of another use for your carrier bags, then I urge you to recycle them! There are centres to dispose of plastic and most supermarkets will have a separate bin just for carrier bags. You can just drop them off on your weekly shop, no added hassle and no extra waste for you.
Next time you head to the supermarket and realize you’ve forgetten your shopping bag, don’t worry – just think of all the uses you’ll put your carrier bag to when you get it home!