Friday, January 20, 2012

Plastic Grocery Bags Put to Good Reuse

Photo by mtsofan / John, found on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons

Do you have a stash of plastic grocery bags?

Some places, like San Francisco, have partially banned stores from distributing these bags — and some stores such as Whole Foods have banned them on their own. And many people are pretty good about bringing their own tote bags — which some stores reward you for using.

But still, many people have a lot of these plastic bags hanging around. You could donate them to a group that does food giveaways — groups that give away food almost always need more bags, too. You could recycle them. Or you could use them to form wastebaskets or recycling bins!

frame that holds a plastic bag, making it a wastebasket

Easy Garbage from obj. studio in Spain "was born from this idea: a structure specially designed that holds any model of supermarket bag in order to use them as rubbish bag. This ... extends their useful service life." You can buy Easy Garbage at Un4Verde, where you have a choice of black or white — no red, at least right now. [via The Kitchn] Update on June 20, 2014: I'm no longer finding a place to buy this product.

frames holding plastic bags, used for recycling

Ben the Bin recycling bins are sold individually or in sets by Reestore in the U.K. They're made from 100% recycled plastic. Update on June 20, 2014: I'm only seeing these being sold in packs of 30, intended for schools.

waste basket that stores and uses plastic grocery bags

And finally, there's Urbano, designed and produced by Kevin McElroy — and manufactured from recycled plastic in the U.S. As Kevin explains, "This handy little waste basket both uses and stores the ubiquitous plastic grocery bags leftover from shopping." It's available in green and in black from UncommonGoods; it's gotten great reviews. It's also available at the IHCD store — IHCD being the Institute for Human Centered Design — which currently has four color choices.

Related post:
Binvention, from Sprout Design Ltd.


Katie Petersen said...

Our local homeless shelter takes grocery bags to use in their food pantry.

Louise said...

Plastic grocery bags are the perfect size for us to use as garbage can liners in our RV. Because we have to dispose of our trash in someone else's dumpster, doing it one small bag at a time is easier and more courteous.

Jeri Dansky said...

That's a great example of my point about food distribution groups, Katie - thank you!

And Louise, that makes perfect sense.

Personally, I use some to hold the litter I pick up while taking walks around my neighborhood.

JustGail said...

We've used them as trash bags for years - since they came out I think.

They can also be used (tightly crumpled) as packing material instead of going out and buying or scrounging for packing peanuts. Or if you are a packing peanut nut, put the peanuts in bags before packing. It's much easier to unpack the item being shipped. You might also need fewer peanuts as they can't shift around quite as much.

I'll keep the local food pantry in mind also.