I admit it. I have a bit of an addiction to single use zip baggies. I am naturally someone that loves to keep things contained and organized. If you were to take a look at my board games, you’d find the pieces of each game carefully stored in baggies within a bigger bag, within the large storage container. When I travel, each travel bottle of shampoo or conditioner gets its own little baggie to prevent spills. My refrigerator and pantry have been the biggest areas that this addiction has been evident. Every partially used fruit or veggie would be bagged. Stray baked goods, partial boxes of crackers, all bagged for organization and freshness. That is, until I became what my son likes to call, “a granola.” (It doesn’t hurt my feelings. Granola is delicious.)
In my kitchen, I have (mostly) switched from baggies to other containers — usually empty food jars that have been washed and repurposed. Not only does this greatly reduce my usage of single use plastics, it has increased overall visibility and I’m able to spot items in the fridge before they spoil so I waste less.
When we talk about the life cycle of objects in our possession, we granolas like to use the 5 Rs: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle. I’m planning a series of blog posts about the 5 Rs, but for this post, we’re talking about repurposing items.
The other day, I was walking a friend’s dog, and I noticed they had cleverly repurposed an empty prescription bottle into the perfect container for keeping a roll of biodegradable doggie bags on the leash. It was a great reminder that when we have a need, we can survey the items already in our possession, and ask ourselves, “Could this item meet this need?” Contrary to what our consumer society says, we don’t have to have an individually tailored item that can only be used for one purpose. My friend realized that they didn’t need to go out and buy a poorly made plastic bone-shaped doggie bag dispenser when they possessed innovation, and an empty prescription bottle that isn’t recyclable in our area.
Please reply to this post with photos and/or examples of things you’ve repurposed. We all would love some additional inspiration!