My grandma used to wash and reuse plastic bags. This Depression-era action epitomized, to my parent’s generation, cheapness and time wasting. I distinctly remember my own minimalist-minded mother laughing about the hoard of used plastic sandwich bags her mother-in-law never threw away.
Well everything old is new again, and now I’m a bag washer and re-user. Say what you will about the evils of plastic, there are some applications where plastic is really, totally awesome. I dare say, if plastic bags weren’t so cheap and ubiquitous and disposable we’d all clamor for a lightweight, moldable, non-shattering material that can keep frozen foods in primo condition, stops lettuce from wilting in the fridge, helps maintain a better growing environment for just about every plant there is and prevents skins from forming on pudding. And those are only the uses I bump into – I’m not even thinking about the sterile medical uses or the high-tech applications.
The problem, of course, is that plastic products are cheap, ubiquitous and disposable and so, when we use them, it tends to be without care or consideration. And I think we all know where that leads…I mean, really, a million plastic bags used every second? Clearly that’s not okay.
But if plastic is a cheap resource that is only because its true cost is hidden. People with more higher education than me have gone into details of the environmental and health costs associated with plastic product manufacture and use, and so I will not repeat these issues here. I know it’s bad stuff. But I still use it. I just use a lot less, and with much greater care and thought than I used to.
One big area of plastic consumption I haven’t kicked is FoodSaver bags. I use my FoodSaver a lot, for freezing fish that I buy in bulk when it’s in season or vegetable side dishes I make and freeze for later. But, in addition to the environmental and health issues of plastics, those bags are freakin’ expensive. I’m getting all the use I can out of those suckers. (Here, as often, the frugal thing is also the environmentally not-as-bad thing.)
After washing, I needed a way to dry my FoodSaver bags, which I deliberately cut on the long side to get several uses from them. I came up with this, and I have to say I love it. It’s household-parts improvisation at its most simple, but it’s a good solution that works.
You will need:
- 1 empty wine bottle
- 1 long handled wooden spoon
- 2 thumbtacks.
Drop wood spoon handle down into wine bottle to get a feeling for how tall you’ll need the finished product. Note where the handle exits the next of the bottle – this is where you’ll put your thumbtacks to hold the spoon up. Shove the thumbtacks into opposite sides of the wooden spoon handle at the appropriate height.