I'd like to stop bringing my groceries home from the store in plastic bags; I know it'd be better for the environment to invest in some reusable cloth bags (which I could probably find at thrift shops!) and take them to the grocery store to bring my groceries home in. But I've gotten so used to using the store plastic bags to line my wastebaskets with. So does anybody have any suggestions as to a green, thrifty way to line and clean my wastebaskets without having to use the plastic bags any more?
Lynn from Chico, CA
I don't even use liners in my bathrooms or bedroom trash as I don't usually have messy things to put in them. If you really want some sort of liner, paper bags are actully better to use. Plastic bags are a petroleum product and we don't want to add to our dependency. Most paper bags from the grocery are at least 50% recycled paper, so they aren't as bad as plastic. I really would see if you need liners at all, you may find out when you look at the garbage that goes into the cans that you don't really need a liner.
Loooog time ago, when I was a bride. we only had cloth shopping bags; no plastic, no paper. And all our wastecans were metal. Soooooooo, we first waxed the wastecan, then recycled our newspapers by lining the cans with them. The more industrious of us would sew newspaper bags with the sewing machine. Put more layers of paper on the bottom. You can put a cereal box, styrofoam meat tray or egg carton to catch drips and strenghten the bottom.
I use paper lunch sacks in the bathroom and bedroom waste baskets.
i agree with the point about not really needing a liner.
for wet messy stuff, i use large coffee cans, ice cream containers, mayonnaise jars, most any sizable container with lid...helps keep the smells down too. meat wrappings and larger items can be placed inside an empty cereal or other box. (just don't let wastebasket get too full where it becomes difficult to dump without a mess.)
Here in CA where I live not only do we have recycling for paper and bottles (you can throw in your grocery plastic bags too!!) but we also have compost recycling! We hardly have anything to throw away, except for dirty diapers from the baby I nanny, kitty litter (which I switched to dumping into paper lunch sacks instead of plastic grocery bags) and whatever my husband throws away (he's not into the recycling food waste stuff). We can even throw away the paper plates, kleenex, paper towels, and pizza boxes, it's great!!!!
I too am switching to cloth bags. I dug up one my Mom gave me from Montana (I didn't know what I was going to do with it) and another I used to use for sewing crafts. Most grocery stores sell the recycled ones, they fit what a standard grocery bag will fit. I bought one for 99cents at Whole Foods and they gave me the 5 cent discount, which I can then donate or keep (I donated it).
Anyway, with regards to the bags, I'm pretty sure you could find bags that are made of recycled material (for say your kitchen garbage and such. I too don't use liners in all of my garbage baskets (1 in each room, including bathrooms, 2 in the master and the living room!). Try Whole Foods, Seventh generation products might have one? When you do find one, let us know!
You can custom-make bags for your wastebasket out of a couple sheets of newspaper. Tape them together or learn a little origami to fold them so they won't come apart. You can also use a paper grocery bag as a pattern.
if you can't eliminate your use of plastic bags you could at least cut down by only putting wet/messy trash in a single can! I think it's better to recycle everything that there is available recycling for and use cereal bags and such for the trash!
i like to get the paper bags from the grocery store and then use those as trash bags all by themselves.
I use totes for groceries that I either bought in the grocery store or made myself.
We are able to dump all the "wet" garbage in our woods, no bones, could hurt the animals. I use a plastic, reclosable coffe can to hold this in.
We have a wood furnace in the basement that we use to burn paper. We recycle everything else, newspapers, magazines, cans, aluminum cans, plastic bottles, except one small bag of stuff every week.
We live in the country and need to haul our own garbage to our township recycling station. We are required to have whatever we cannot recycle in a plastic bag, and I confess I do use a plastic grocery bag for this. But using the totes cuts grocery bag use to nearly zero. Much better than the bundle we used to use.
What about using an old pillowcase....or if you sew, take old sheets and make them to fit your cans...then they are even washable!
Use your daily newspaper to line your wastebasket. Use 2 or 3 layers. We used to do this before plastic bags were introduced. If you don't get a daily newspaper, beg some from your neighbour or from your friends.
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