Brilliant Home Hack: The Plastic Bag Buildup Solved, Money Saved

This trick gives your plastic grocery bags new life, saves money and scores environmental points.

I find it distressing when plastic grocery bags start piling up in my house: It means I forgot to bring my reusable bags to the store when I went shopping — and as a person who tries to be conscientiously green, it causes me shame. Even though in my city, plastic bags are allowed in recycling, I know they are often a headache for the recycling companies. They tend to blow around and get tangled up in the machinery and jam up the works.

So I’m pretty happy to have a way to reuse these bags that both saves money and helps ease my environmental soul.

This hack requires that you invest a couple of bucks in some plastic stick-on hooks, and adhere them to the outside of your kitchen garbage can just under the rim on both ends. Two to three hooks on each side provide a way to hang a plastic shopping bag such that it doesn’t fall down into the bottom of the can when you throw waste in it. When the bag gets full, tie the top into a knot and take it out.

Typically shopping bags are not as big as the full-size kitchen garbage bags that you buy to serve the same purpose. But the good news is that the trash is less likely to stink if it goes out more often in smaller grocery bags. It also eliminates the need to put a new garbage bag into the waste system — and, of course, these bags are free.

Do you have great ways to repurpose or recycle household products? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Kari Huus
Kari Huus
Kari Huus was a founding member of msnbc.com in 1996, where she covered international political and economic news, and later developed special multimedia reporting projects until 2014. Prior to that she was ... More

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