Thursday, January 17, 2008

Milk Bags!!!

Hi, everyone! Chrissy here.

I'd like to talk to you today about milk bags! Now, before you say anything, I'd like you get kindly get our mind out of the gutter! :) I was actually looking for photos of "milk bags" on Google images and you'd be surprised at some of the photographs that popped up!

I don't know what format of containers you purchase your milk in. In the local grocery stores here they come in cartons, plastic jugs, and in plastic bags.We've all learned that in order to help preserve our planet, we need to practice the 3 R's: Reduce (the amount of consumption of material goods, energy, etc), Re-use and Recycle as much as we can and when we can. Bearing this in mind, I've started doing what my mother-in-law does. For the past two years, I've been re-using our plastic milk bags. I used to buy milk in the cartons, but found it more economical and practical to buy them in the bags. We bought milk in the jugs, but often forgot to take them back to the grocery store for recycling and refunding. I think it was 5 cents returned to you per jug.

What my mother-in-law and I do is simply wash the plastic milk bags and dry them so we can re-use them for other things. The milk bags are exceptionally durable and are wonderful for freezing your produce. When I harvest our beans, raspberries, broccoli, cauliflower, corn, and other veggies from our garden, I prepare them and put them into the plastic baggies. Come winter time, we have lots of produce from the garden ready to use for cooking.

I know there are plenty of debates on re-using plastic bags. We've found that there are no problems with it and it works out quite well for us. It's also way better than throwing out the plastic milk bags. At least we have found a purpose for the bags. Nothing gets wasted.

Other than recycling the other types of milk containers, I suppose you can reuse them too. Instead of putting your cartons in the recycling bin, you and your kids can cut them and decorate them and make a bird feeder out of them. You can also cut them and start your seeds in them (for starting seedlings for planting in your garden).

What do you think? Do you buy your milk in the carton, plastic jug or bags? What do you do with the container afterward?


Ryan & Teandra Everett said...

I buy milk in gallon cartons, and (yikes) throw it away when I'm done. I don't know what to use if for. Any more ideas would be wonderful...

C said...

Hi, Ryan and Teandra!
Thanks for popping by and commenting.

Oh! I just thought of a few ideas for you. You can use the milk cartons to make candles. My MIL told me that she has tried that. She cuts them so that you have the base left over and fill that as a mold for your wax and wick. They make nice homemade gifts. You can even use essential oils and add a little fragrance to your candles.

You can also use the cartons for compost. Keep it in your kitchen sink and put your fruit and veggie scraps in it and then you can bring it out to your compost bin or garden.

You can also cut the tops off and fill them with water and freeze them. You'll have blocks of ice ready for when you have parties.

Fancy said...

I don't like re-using milk bags for food, soft plastic is so porous I just feel weird about it. They are perfect for kitty litter though!

Anonymous said...

Well the truth is that I buy them in cartons because in my country there's not that option of bags and because I guess it is easier to Recycle carton then plastic mags. One thing that also doesn't exist in our groceries stores is the paper bags that are also easier to reuse. Great post :)

C said...

Good point. A friend of mine has mentioned that too (about the plastic bags being porous). She doesn't use them for that reason either. I asked her what the difference between plastic Ziploc bags and plastic milk bags was, and she just said that she doesn't use any kind of plastic bags, period. Then I asked her if she buys frozen vegetables...because don't those come in plastic bags too? I know, I'm playing the devil's advocate here. I seriously didn't mean to be a shit disturber when she and I were talking about recycling plastic baggies. I was just curious.

I've been thinking about the plastic debate a bit too. I've been getting lots of e-mails from family and friends saying not to use plastic anything anymore.

Good idea for the kitty litter though. I hadn't thought of that before!

Not a lot of stores here use paper bags anymore. I remember when every grocery store used them. Then years later, there was the option between paper or plastic. Now, where I live it's either cardboard boxes (that canned goods come in and the stores re-use them for carrying groceries), plastic or bring your own bags. Many places discourage the use of plastic bags and charge a few cents per bag. A few stores near me have plastic bag "recycling", which is more re-using of the plastic bags. You just bring over all your plastic bags and put them in a bin and they get re-used. I bring my own bags though. I carry about a dozen fabric bags with me when I go shopping.

C. K. said...

You're such an awesome blogger, C!!! What a great post! And great suggestions for teandra&ryan with the candle making mold and ice-cube(y) tray. Great ideas!!

Fancy said...

Oh, I will use ziplock (though not often, I prefer reusable containers...but for outings with the girl I will use ziplock sometimes, if we don't want to carry a duffle bag full of snacks crayons, etc), but I don't reuse them (for food anyways, I do for other things). I think that porous plastic absorb what has already been in I don't want to put something else that I will eat in it. Like, to me a milk bag always smells kinda like milk...rotton milk after a while! So, I don't want to put food into it. Cat poop though? No problem!!! Same with the plastic bags from frozen veggies or produce. I reuse them, just not for food. Since I don't get plastic grocery bags anymore, the plastic bags I do still get (milk, produce, frozen veggies) are well used for garbage and cat litter!