Plastic bags, no matter the size, are usually at the top of every environmental “outlaw” list. Sandwich bags, in particular, are made of petroleum plastics and are, therefore, using a nonrenewable resource that's producing toxic emissions upon manufacture. And since they're not recyclable, consumers are forced to toss these fossil fuel-derived plastic bags into landfills and incinerators after just one use. You can see, then, why it's important to reduce the number of plastic bags we take home from stores. But eco changes hardly ever happen immediately; so what are you supposed to do with all those sandwich bags you just bought? If the thought of washing them after each use is unpleasant to you, there are always other things you can re-use them for besides storing food. The following are just a few of the ways that ChasingGreen will be putting their sandwich bags to further use.
MORE USES FOR SANDWICH BAGS
Make a Cold Pack: Freeze a wet washcloth inside a sandwich bag. The next time someone in your household suffers a burn, bump, or scrape, just pull out the ready-made cold pack!
DIY Baby Wipes: Place soft paper towels in a sealable sandwich bag with a mixture of 1 tablespoon gentle antibacterial soap, 1 teaspoon baby oil, and 1/3 cup water. The mixture should be diluted enough to just moisten the towels, not drench them. Once your towels are sealed in the bags, you've got the thrifty parent's solution to expensive, store-bought baby wipes that quickly dry out!
Protect your Photos: Encase each of your photos in sandwich bags before passing them out to friends and relatives; that way, your precious memories don't get covered in smudges and fingerprints before you get a chance to frame them!
Protect your Padlocks: Don't let your padlocks freeze and prevent you from getting in your outdoor sheds or garages in cold weather! Just place a sandwich bag on the lock to ensure access to your outdoor storage in freezing temperatures!
Mold Soap Scraps into a New Bar: Those impossible-to-use slivers of soap leftover at the end of the bar are a shame to waste. The next time you've got several small soap pieces collected, just place them in a sandwich bag that you then put inside a pan of warm, not boiling, water. The pieces will melt and when the mixture cools, you'll have a brand new bar of soap!
Make a Pastry Bag: If you're sick of paying money for cumbersome, hard-to-clean pastry bags, just place the food you want piped – whether it's deviled-egg mix, cake frosting, or icing – into a sealable sandwich bag. Squish out the air and close the top, then snip off a corner of the bag to the size you want.
Dispose of Cooking Oil: This tip isn't particularly great for reducing the number of plastic bags that end up in landfills, but it will save you some money. If you want to avoid clogging your kitchen drain with used cooking oil, wait for the oil to cool, then dump it into a sealable sandwich bag and toss it into the trash.
Color Cookie Dough with Clean Hands: Place small portions of your prepared cookie dough in sandwich bags, add drops of food coloring, and then squish the dough around until the color is uniform. Your hands will be dye-free and because the dough is already bagged, you can either bake it immediately or put it in the freezer for later use.
Prevent Ice Crystals on Ice Cream: Simply place your half-full ice-cream container in a sealable sandwich bag and no ice crystals will form on the top!
Grease your Pans: Place a sandwich bag over your hand, scoop up a small amount of shortening or butter from the tub, and then start greasing your cake pan or cookie sheet.
Use as Kids' Gloves: Little ones love to be “helpers” in the kitchen, but oftentimes with pretty messy results. Before they start “helping” you, place small sandwich bags over their hands; these instant, disposable gloves will make cleanup a breeze!
Make a Funnel: Fill a small sandwich bag with the contents you need to be funneled, snip off the end of the bag, and transfer the contents into the needed container.
Create a Sachet: Fill a sandwich bag – sealable or not – with flower petals, crushed fragrant leaves, and a couple drops of aromatic oil, then punch a bunch of small holes in the bag and place it in your dresser drawer. Who needs to buy potpourri?!
Use for Purse Organization: Cotton balls, Band-Aids, Q-Tips, lip gloss, chewing gum, mints – the list goes on and on! Keep all those small, likely-to-get-lost items in one place in your purse or handbag by placing them in a sandwich bag!