Cheaper to Reuse Baggies or Plastic?

colorcrazyJanuary 14, 2009

I used to wash out my ziplock lunch baggies and re-use them. Even had DH make me a small stand with dowels that stood out to hold the baggies open to dry.

But I started realizing how much water I was wasting by hand washing them. Now I just use plastic containers that I can put in the dishwasher and I don't buy baggies any more. (I had read that the dishwasher uses less water than hand washing.)

What is your opinion?

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We use plasticware for everything in packed lunches, not just sandwiches, but we wash them by hand. I never wash anything made of plastic in the dishwasher - which is why my 30+ year old Tupperware is still being used today. When we do use a plastic bag, it's washed with the dishes in the sink, rinsed, dried and reused.

I just read recently where Energy Star DWs use 4-gallons of water and non-Energy Star can use 6-7-gallons. A typical use of water for hand-washing is 5-7 gallons. So, you do the math for how much water you would use doing dishes by hand based on approx. how much water you think you use.

I can beat the Energy Star DW water's not as convenient, but it conserves more water than using a DW once a day.

After every meal (or 2-3 times a day) we wash dishes that don't go in the DW, and for general clean-up after a meal, in 1-gallon of water. We only run a full load of dishes in the DW every 3-4 days. So even using 2-3 gallons a day for dishes, it still beats running a DW once a day.

1. I have to run SOME water after a meal ANYWAY for washing things that don't go in the DW and general clean-up.

2. We use "saved" water (save it from the cold water that runs in the shower before the water gets hot) for washing dishes by hand.

3. We use a small plastic tub in the sink, rather than filling a large sink with several unnecessary gallons of water.

4. Heat 5-cups of saved water in an ELECTRIC kettle, which only takes a couple minutes, if that. An electric kettle heats water faster than a kettle on the stove or a microwave because the heating element is in contact with the water. This also saves the hot water heater having to kick on for a small amount of hot water, and the wasted cold water that goes down the drain waiting for the water to get hot.

5. Put the hot water in the plastic tub along with approx. 5-cups of cold water (also from the saved 1-gallon of water) and a very small amount of soap.

6. Use the remaining 6-cups of water from the gallon for rinsing the dishes. (16-cups of water in a gallon)


    Bookmark   January 15, 2009 at 6:32AM
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I won't reuse them, i don't think you can get them clean enough

    Bookmark   January 15, 2009 at 3:05PM
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You don't need a full sink of water to wash one zipper bag as Grainlady alluded. And I'm not sure that a few potato chips or a sandwich would require that much sanitizing for a bag to be washed and reused. Plastic wrap would be cheaper. My dad's lunch was wrapped mostly in wax paper and would be brought home and reused. Nobody uses wax paper anymore. I still like it for a lot of things.

Solid containers would be easier to wash, dry and for that matter sanitize if you feel the need. They'd last longer so in the long run, if you continue to use them, they'd pay for themselves. You could also use the infamous margarine/dairy topping tubs too. One of the small margarine cups used to fit a large donut perfectly. Saw a guy at work with that and I thought it was a great idea. No real cost involved, EASY to wash and dry, and I'd have several so I didn't have to wash it each day. Or I'd give it a rinse and wipe it and use it. The dairy topping (ala "Cool Whip") tubs work great for salads.

A lot depends on your typical menu.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 7:44AM
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You run a bucket of hot water (plus deterg.?) ... just to wash one baggie??

When, over period, you've accumulated 50 baggies ...

... all washed ...

... and just waiting to be used ...

... whadda ya *do* with 'em??

I'll use the margarine tubs to store regular stuff in the frig. ... but when it comes to tomatoes, etc. which are acidic ... I prefer to use a soup bowl, etc. as I'm not sure that I want the acids leaching stuff that might be nefarious out of the plastic buckets.

I also prefer washing them to washing the baggies.

I know what to do with the round tubes that held frozen juices, after washing - stick pencils, pens in 'em on the desk.

Put candies, peanuts, etc. in 'em, for handy use near the computer. Stick an individual plastic yogurt cup in the top, if bothered by flying bugs, moths, etc.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 11:56PM
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