Someone mentioned washing and reusing zip-lock bags. I'd like to offer this side note: Please do not reuse bags that have contained meats. I'd rather throw away the bag, than to possibly get sick from contaminated plastic. It just isn't worth it.
By Barbara from TN
I reuse a few of mine for small, opened bags of frozen veggies to keep them fresh. These are placed on the freezer door when I use up the product. I reuse the ones which I use to keep my loaves of rye bread fresh. They go back into the bread basket when empty. All the others get thrown in the trash.
I reuse my zip locks depending on what was in them. When it comes to meat, though, I do reuse, but only to dispose of coffee grinds if I have too much for the garden or anything wet that I don't want to just dump in the garbage can.
If you turn your bags inside out and put them through a very hot wash (some people stick them in the dishwasher, I prefer to save the baggies and throw them in with a load of <i>laundry</i> washed with hot water). Then I don't see how it's any different than reusing Tupperware that's contained meat.
I wash them out in hot soapy water then I store things in then in my junk drawer, it looks a lot nicer then everything thrown in there.
I once saw a thing to put in the dishwasher to clean zip lock bags but I cant find it again. It makes them ok to use again.
I usually wrap my meat in a saran wrap and place it in the Zip-lock Bags and not worry about contamination.
You can reuse them if they had meat in them just soak them in hot soapy water with bleach, wash inside with wash rag then let air dry by setting over a large spatula in your silverware drainer.
Why take a chance? Are we THAT frugal that we have to take a risk for our health for one plastic bag? The best thing we can do with meat wrappers is get rid of them. I personally don't keep raw meat in plastic containers. I keep it in the container it comes in then throw that away.
I rinse out zipper bags used for raw meat or deli meat, then use them for various kinds of waste disposal. I store deli meat bags right up front in the freezer, and when I trim fat off raw or cooked meat, or have any other kind of non-compostable food waste, it goes into the bag. On trash day, it goes into the trash bag and out to the curb.
This is to lilac: When you buy meat, it has to be repackaged if you put it in a freezer for long-term storage. The packaging it comes in guarantees freezer burn, which is the same as throwing money away.
I understand everyone's position regarding the reuse of ziplock bags. Even keeping them in the freezer and then reusing them for more meat can attribute to cross contamination. Opening and reclosing them to fill with other things can also be risky (drips or getting bacteria on your hands, then touching other surfaces). Personally, I never reuse any ziplock bag that has had raw meat in it--even the freezer ones, I feel, are too flimsy to properly clean.
I do reuse the heavy bags that I buy for my Food Saver unit. I rinse them out, scrub them with hot soapy water, then soak them in a hot, soapy bleach-water solution for a minimum of 40 minutes, rotating them every 10 minutes and making sure that all interior surface area gets disinfected by the bleach. I've worked in the medical field over 30 years, and that is how durable medical equipment, including plastics, are cleaned in every office: MDs, dentists, chiropractors, ENTs, SLPs. etc. Still, you must be diligent.
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