By March 29, 2007

10 things to do with plastic bags, the Gibberish way

You’ve probably heard about the city of San Francisco banning plastic bags. Coming from city that also banned handguns and military recruiters, San Fran apparently wanted to move the meter a little further into the “fucking crazy” range. What will they try next, incandescent light bulbs? Oh right, they already have a plan for that.

Just in case you live outside the queen nanny city of the nanny state, here are ten things you can do with plastic bags, the Gibberish way. Like firearms with detachable mags, stockpile plastic bags while you can — you never know when some jacknut is going to make them illegal.

  1. Reminds you of work, doesn’t it?. Use plastic grocery bags to pick up dog shit. This is a lifesaver if you have to walk your animals in a public area. Now that SF has banned plastic bags, what are people going to use to pick up their dog deuces? That’s right, other plastic bags. Except now, they will be special-purpose plastic bags that can’t be used for other things on this list.
  2. Get trashed. We line our bathroom trash cans with these little guys. Sure beats buying a special-purpose plastic trash bag, both economically and environmentally.
  3. Better than a belly button. We have a plastic bag tied to a rack in our laundry area. We scoop lint and dryer sheets out and shove them in the plastic bag.
  4. Big booty hoes, come with it! Wear plastic bags as booties to keep your feet dry, or keep your shoes free of potentially contaminated material.
  5. I keep ’em wet. Cover moist paint brushes to keep them from drying out overnight.
  6. Stop the bleeding. Use plastic grocery bags to keep meat from bleeding out inside your refrigerator.
  7. Lights out. Store a single strand of holiday lights in a single bag to avoid the inevitable tangle nightmare come next year.
  8. Babies be quiet! This one’s courtesy of Lady Jaye, but hey, millions of these can’t be wrong:
  9. Blockade runner. Wrap whatever you’re transporting in a plastic bag or two to keep it safe from bad weather or spills. Particularly useful when moving food from one home to another. The way I drive, something is bound to spill.
  10. Gotta keep ’em separated. Now that I’m restoring C&R firearms, I have a lot of rags that are used for special purposes. I don’t want to use the mineral oil rag used to clean metal parts of cosmoline on a wooden stock. I don’t want to use the lemon oil rag used for the stock on the metal parts. Keep them separate in their own plastic bags. This is also important for my motorcycle, as I don’t want to use my chain lube overspray rag to wipe down my bike.

The main tenants of environmental responsibility are reduce, reuse, and recycle. Plastic grocery bags (the majority, anyway) aren’t recyclable. They stick around for a long, long time. The mayor of San Fran said his city makes $200 million worth of plastic bags every year. If everyone reused their bag at least once, they cut the amount of bags made in half. When you use them for something else that is normally accomplished by another plastic product, such as a trash can liner, you are lessening your environmental impact even more. Our friends have a nifty “doggy bag” container on their puppy’s leash. The container has a roll of custom-sized plastic bags inside — bags that can’t be used to hold lint, keep your shoes dry, or quiet that kid in Starbucks. If San Fran’s true aim was to reduce the environmental impact of plastic bags, encouraging reuse and reduction may get them a lot farther than an attempt to ban non-biodegradable plastic bags.

I also wonder what the financial and environmental trade-off between making, transporting, using, and disposing plastic grocery bags are compared to paper counterparts. I am sure that paper bags degrade better and are more easily recyclable, but what will it take to make $200 million worth of additional paper bags to service San Francisco? Furthermore, paper bags can’t be used for most of the items on my list, so there goes a lot of reuse and thereby product reduction.

Verdict? Typical California legislation. Well-meaning, but short sighted and the wrong answer to a legitimate problem. This is going to create more problems, and waste, than it’s worth.

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6 Comments on "10 things to do with plastic bags, the Gibberish way"

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  1. Markie says:

    And Lady Jaye chimes in with the winner!

  2. Stomper says:

    You left out 1b – collecting/disposing of pooper-scoopered kitti litter. They tell you you can flush the clumps … but a lot of them don’t unclump so well and clog the toity.

  3. Excellent list! I regularly re-use via #s 2,3,6,7,9 and sometimes 4.

  4. More Tea says:

    Interestingly, plastic bags are easier than paper to recycle and suck up less energy for recycling too, according to The problem is that few people bring them in to be recycled, despite those convenient bins at the entrance of every grocery store.

  5. @More Tea:

    I take mine in! In fact, when I get my car back tomorrow morning (the shop didn’t call me back like they’d said they would, even though my car was ready), I can drop off the 2 bags of plastic bags I left in the trunk of my Rally Blue.

  6. This is so spot on – totally well meaning but if anyone actually stopped to think about it, just going to create more plastic rubbish in the long run. Why not put limits on companies that make plastic products that only have one use? That would be much more effective and force people to recycle… instead of not giving them any option at all.