Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bag Laundry

Its an odd picture. This is a shot of my Bag Laundry. As far as I know, Bag Laundry is a term coined by members of the Hamline Midway Environmental Group (HMEG). This group of eco-volunteers spend a lot of time thinking about waste reduction. Plastic waste is a current obsession.

Ziploc bags just appear in my life. Have not bought any in a long while because many foods from the grocery store are coming in ziplocs and we seem to get them from other folks too. To get more out of the zip bags we have, our family set-up a bag laundry line above our kitchen sink. Washing and reusing allows us several of uses of the same bags.

The zip feature of a ziploc bag is not recyclable, so bag recycling around here (if you can find them) frowns on zip bags. So instead of tossing after a single use, we wash the Bag Laundry, hang on the line and reuse.

We have found that washing is done easiest (and least water required) by putting all the zips into a larger zip bag that is filled with hot soapy water. Swish and slosh each bag inside and then cycle through hot rinse water. Turning each bag inside out works best for this method. Note: we do not generally have meat products stored in zip bags and would never use this method with bags that contained raw meat.

ideas to reduce plastic bag waste:

  • cloth shopping bags- they are ubiquitous now
  • reuse food packaging- tortilla packages are a favorite here
  • use other types of reusable containers, glass even i.e. your old peanut butter jar
  • encourage stores to at least ask customers if a bag is needed
  • stop using lawn & leaf bags, instead find a big sheet or tarp and bundle your yard waste inside. I can recommend garden containers like Fiskar's Kangaroos, which have been used for 6 years now in SE Como's community gardens. They loose their toggles for collapsing, but otherwise have held up to kids, sticks, compost, trimmings etc during endless trips to the compost piles.
  • Bag Laundry!


  1. This is soooooo cool. It would be neat to know how much the world can save by just doing bag laundry once to each bag that comes into your life.

    Bob Kaufer
    If you MOVE like the Tin Man, you will THINK like the Scarecrow and FEEL like the Lion

  2. This it great! The area above our kitchen sink is always full of bag laundry.

  3. Oooh, I like the Kangaroos. Will need something like that for Spring yard clean-up. I'm going to pick some up.

    diatomic design