Plastic storage bags are useful for carrying and storing food items, and things like wet socks and small toys. Why toss or recycle them after one use? Isn’t that throwing away money and resources?
When we began trying to minimize plastic and paper bags of any sort, we looked at our plastic storage and produce bags in a new light. We decided to see if rinsing them out, drying them and reusing them was really the hassle I had imagined it would be.
At first we rinsed out bags, washed with soap if needed, and hung them on various things around the kitchen (paper towel holder, dish drainer, ketchup bottle, etc.). I had seen plastic bag drying racks for sale online, they looked like they would work, but I just didn’t want to buy something for drying plastic bags.
Do-It-Yourself Plastic Bag Drying Rack
My exceedingly handy spouse came to the rescue and made a plastic bag drying rack out of scrap materials hanging around our garage. For those who do not have the materials on hand, they can be easily purchased at a hardware store.
- 1-5” x 8” piece of scrap plastic
- 3-30 inch long pieces of 12-gauge solid THHN building electrical wire
- 2-4 ½ inch long pieces of self adhesive foam tape
- Wire cutters
- Drill (hand or electric)
- Hot-melt Glue Gun
- Scissors or X-acto knife
- Drill 6 holes in the scrap plastic base. A small plastic cutting board or similar item would work too.
- Cut the building wire into 3-30 inch long pieces and bend with hands to form the drying hoops, poke through the holes in the base, and bend to form an “L” on the bottom. This wire is sold at hardware stores for pennies a foot and comes in different colors. In a pinch plastic coated wire coat hangers might work.
- Use hot-melt glue to secure the wire “L” to the bottom of the base.
- Cut self adhesive foam tape into 2-4 ½ inch long pieces, remove backing, and apply to the bottom to cover the wire ends and holes. This serves to make the unit stand flat and be non-skid.
We found that once we got in the habit of rinsing or washing out plastic bags and placing them on the drying rack, it didn’t take much extra effort. We use the rack for produce bags, freezer bags, and storage bags. We do not reuse bags that were used to store raw meat. The rack is lightweight and easy to move around to a counter, the top of the washer, or even outside. We collect bags that spring a leak, tear, or wear out, bundle and then recycle them. I cannot remember that last time we bought a box of plastic bags.
Plastic Bag Dryer DIY and Purchase Options
There are a variety of plastic bag drying rack do-it-yourself designs on line, from using a toothbrush holder with chopsticks to one made from tinker toys. Not that handy or just want to buy one, surf the Web and check out the selection of handmade and commercial bag dryers or stop by a home goods store.
So…reusing bags is green and saves resources and money. For those people I know who have been reusing their plastic storage bags for years—you can now say, “I told you so”.