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Friday, February 6, 2009

Wash Ziploc Bags

My mother-in-law washes ziploc bags, and I have to admit I thought that was crazy. I decided years ago that I was never going to "stoop" to being that frugally silly.

But, then I picked up an old copy of the "Tightwad Gazette" a few months ago at a used library book sale. I was reading the article on washing baggies half-heartedly, but it ended with these paragraphs:

"I can wash out a plastic Baggie used to store broccoli in the freezer in 11 seconds, saving $.05 per bag ... or I can throw the bag away and reach under the counter to get a new Baggie in 5 seconds.

Figuring that she spends 6 seconds to save $.05, she calculated the savings rate of washing Baggies is $30 per hour."

Ok, how can I possibly continue to refuse to save $30/hr???

So, I attempted it. But I had a greasy water problem which kept those bags nasty. So I had to quit until I figured out how to get my bags clean. A little sprinkle of washing soda in the water was the winning ingredient to getting my dishes oil free.

So, now, I am able to save $30/hr. Turn them inside out to wash. Put one hand in there spread out and use the other hand and dishcloth to wipe. Dry inside out in a dishrack on top of a chopstick wedged in between dishes.

So, if you don't have chopsticks from China in your utensil stash, every time you go to a Chinese Restaurant (or friends who go have them collect for you) take a set of chopsticks home, wash them and use them for baggie drying. I keep these chopsticks in an old peanut butter jar behind the sink ready for this purpose.

FYI - don't use baggies that had meat in them. Throw those away, but all the rest can be washed to save money.

Then, I cut out the back side of a cereal box and patched back up with tape. Once the bags are dry, I turn them right side out and wipe off any leftover wetness and place them in the cereal box container to pull out of when needed.

UPDATE - Be ready to get those used chopsticks off the restaurant table before the bus boy comes around! In-laws took up to dinner and I chose Chinese for the dirty chopsticks. (Funny reason to choose a dinner out, I think!) and so we were talking after we had completed eating and bus boy tries to take the chopsticks. Hubby grabs them back and says we will keep these. Banter between him and bus boy of, "I will take them, they are dirty, yes?" and "No really, we want to keep these, thanks." Finally after several takes the bus boy, insistent on the need to throw the chopsticks away, offers new chopsticks. Hubby smiles and thanks him for the generous offer of more new chopsticks, but still refuses to relinquish the old dirty ones. Bus boy gives up on his apparently extremely necessary job of keeping customers from taking out the trash for him and doesn't give us new ones. :)


chris said...

We've been doing this for years, it is one of the few 'green' things I can talk hubby into doing on a regular basis. He leaves the lights and tv on, but he does wash out and reuse those baggies! We also bought a bunch of used linen towels on ebay and use them in place of paper towels for most things in the kitchen. Isn't it great how what is frugal is almost always 'green' too?!?

Anonymous said...

I love the Tightwad Gazette books! there are 3 of them. I read all of them by borrowing from the library. Then hubby found them all at a used book store an bought them for me as a gift!

I'm a new reader to your blog, I stumbled upon it by chance! I love it!

Anonymous said...

I think you are not saving $30 but the cost of the bag as you reuse it each time minus the cost of detergent and hot water. So maybe 5 cents per reuse savings I would gestimate. It would add up after 600 reuses to be $30. Denise

Melissa Jagears said...

hmm, I don't think I would add in the cost of detergent and hot water since you are already using it to wash dishes you normally would.

And, yes, you aren't saving $30 per say, but your labor is worth $30 an hour every 6 seconds of your time saves you 5 cents of replacement cost; You are right that you would have to wash 600 bags (the amount of bags you could wash in an hour) to accumulate that $30 worth of savings.

Anonymous said...

You could also buy a new bag of chopsticks for a couple of bucks at the grocery store.

Teresa Slack said...

Been doing this for years as well. Reducing my carbon footprint as well as saving. Once mine are dry--will have to try the chopsticks--I just stuff them back in the box they came out of. It takes a looooooooong time to use up a full box of baggies.

You get even more savings from the larger bags.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the cool tip and hilarious story! and jodi-why would you want to buy them when you can get them for free!