Reusing plastic garbage bags

Last year we transported the homemade compost in my trunk from Norfolk, VA to Yulee, FL in order not to waste what we’d worked so hard to make and in order to use the homemade compost in our new garden.

The compost didn’t smell bad, but it was hot and wet and left a mess in the bags.So, I pinned them down in my brother in-law’s back yard with bricks and hung a few on the end of his hammock. The wind whipped them dry, and clean. So, I used them again, and again and again. We used them just the other day when we pulled off on the side of the road to scoop up grass clippings to smooth over our garden.

My husband’s co-worker also bags his grass, as did his brother. Both were beyond generous in sharing their grass with us to use in our compost bin and to blanket the garden in order to keep out the weeds throughout last gardening season. I dry the bags out on the tiki torches in the back yard on a windy day, neatly fold them and ask his co-worker and his brother to use them the next time they bag for us.

Like five ghosts staying for the party.

I always get strange looks. But if the bag has no holes in it and is in perfectly good condition, why not?

It’s often difficult to get people to think outside of the box. They say, “Why would I use something used when I could use a new one?” I think, why would I use something new, when I could use something used? A new product takes more energy, money, and material to create and once we’ve used it for whatever purpose, it’s just one more product in the landfill.

So, why not reuse that garbage bag when you’re transporting or doing yard work? I haven’t had to buy garbage bags in over a year, baby! Less waste, more money in my wallet. SCORE!

The wind whips them dry and clean. And also scared the birds away from my seedlings! Better than a scarecrow.

19 responses to “Reusing plastic garbage bags

  1. brilliant, my hardcore enthusiast. I’m not sure even we would dry and reuse a garbage sack, but perhaps ours are too thin, they wouldn’t hold compost without breaking. However we do have some sheep feed bags and they have been reused numerous times as they are so strong and durable. I love that you hand them back to people; I can just imagine the looks you get!

    • @Mrs. Green—the looks aren’t usually very nice and don’t make me feel very good. But I tell myself, in 20 years doing this type of thing will be the norm and the weird looks will be directed at those who don’t do it. A girl can dream anyway…

      @Mom Photographer—we were most certainly sisters in a past life. And I remember you struggling with those scissors. Too much work. Enjoy that little quiet time you get with your book! You deserve it!

      @juwannadoright—good point. And a big pat on the back to you for composting! Hooray! That’s terrific!

      @MoreFoodPlease—I’m having such a time finding your site! Auck! When you make a comment be sure you put your site in that bottom line so we can be sure to find you. I’ll have to pull you up via Google! 🙂
      And yes, they are live railroad tracks. Good eye! We were a bit worried when we first moved in but the town is so small, only the little, local train goes by a few times a week pulling something for the Navy yard. It’s so cute and if I’m in the back yard, they always wave at me.

      @jrliggetsblog—Joy, I love that song! 🙂

      @lightlycrunchy—I reuse my baggies too. Haven’t bought any since 2008! I like the ghostly look. It’s entertaining and the birds hate it. I was so happy to hear they recycle your bread bags there. You are such a lucky gal!

      @Bridget—I appreciate your comment. You’re too kind! Your lovely green pictures of that green house and all your flowers keep me going. I want to be surrounded by green and not plastic. 🙂

      @katsmama—thanks. At the time, we thought we might be crazy. It was a 13 hour drive in my trunk and we thought, “Is the extra fuel worth it?” But giving it all away and not having any for the new garden just made my stomach turn. We just couldn’t leave it behind.

      @ Donna— I learned from the best. You are the ultimate environmentalist and you and your ideas have saved me so much money!! Thank you. 🙂

  2. oh Jenn, we were really sisters in a previous life 😉 that’s exactly how I think. When I can (re)use perfectly good but old thing why buying new? It’s been more than a year since we bought our last pack of garbage bags. we still have them. Though, I do use plastic bags for the garbage but I reuse those that I get in the grocery store or the ones from toilet paper (if I don’t keep them for making yarn 😉 ) I’ve got one huge box filled with all kinds of plastic bags waiting to be transform into a “plarn” but these days I prefer to read a book in my free time than to struggle with my scisors 😉

  3. I have a small lawn so little lawn waste – but what I do have goes straight into the compost bin. I do reuse the few plastic storage bags that I sometimes receive when friends send over something homemade. Why not reuse something that still has value?

  4. Great idea. So much of what people discard can be used in it’s same form or reused as something else.

    Are those active train tracks in your backyard? Very cool. But the tracks look so close. It must get loud at times.

  5. heeheeee… the answer is blowin’ in the wind!

  6. I store my recyclable plastic and aluminum containers in trash bags. After I’ve taken a load to the recycle center to cash in, I get my bags back to fill them up again for my next recycle center visit. I’ve been using the same trash bags for years.

    Tossing It Out

  7. I reuse bags too – can’t say I’ve ever washed out a garbage bag, but if it was just holding goods, I keep it once emptied and use it again. Don’t see any problem with washing and reusing them – seems like a great idea. Funny how they look so ghostly.

    Our milk comes in 3 litre sized bags put together in a larger bag, so we always wash out the litre bags for freezer/snack/storage bags and the schools take the outside bags to make braided mattresses out of (shipped to 3rd world countries). I also keep any ziplock baggies that come into the house and rewash them to reuse. Bread bags, etc, get recycled (I checked, we are able to recycle them here – we’re pretty lucky in that our recycling takes almost everything).

  8. I’m so in awe and admiration of your commitment. Great stuff!

  9. I love that you moved your compost when you moved!

  10. I haven’t bought bags in years ( and I mean years) I thought I was the only crazy one to do those things but I think I must have met Jenn in a previous life because we think the same…I do wash out all of my bags and reuse and reuse and reuse them….why not….just puts more money in my pockets.. HA Yes, I do love those lovely ghosts….

  11. Pingback: Grounds for your garden, thanks to Starbucks. « stephaniegetsridofhercrap

  12. I learn a lot from you. Keep it coming. I missed this so much!

  13. Atta girl! Another use for clear plastic bags? Solarization. If you have a “spot” in your garden you’d like to plant in the next season, lay down a layer of clear plastic, securing all around with brick (no air underneath), and allow the sun to sprout any rogue seeds. After a few weeks, layer the area with compost then mulch, and plant. You can most likely reuse the plastic again.

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