Storing food in resealable storage bags (aka, Zip-loc®) is common practice. On average American consumers uses 610[1][2] resealable bags annually. That equates to $1,040 added to your grocery bill. Resealable bags are hard to recycle and most of the time end up in the trash bin after a single use. These lightweight storage bags pose a significant health risk to aquatic wildlife if bags make it into the natural system from littering, illegal dumping or drifting through the air on route to a landfill.

Learn about different alternatives to cut down on cost from buying boxes of resealable bags and your trash generation.

Jump to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

[1] Statista. (November 1, 2020). U.S. population: Amount of plastic freezer bags used within 7 days from 2011 to 2020 [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved January 27, 2021, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/320653/amount-of-plastic-freezer-bags-used-in-the-us-trend/

[2] Statista. (November 1, 2020). U.S. population: Amount of plastic sandwich bags used within 7 days from 2011 to 2020 [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved January 26, 2021, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/285059/amount-of-plastic-sandwich-bags-used-in-the-us-trend/

Reduce

Many different alternatives to disposable resealable storage bags exist. There are options that can be customized to fit your style plus add a significant cost savings.

Reusable resealable storage bags. At an average cost of $12 for a 4 pack, the cost savings is over $800 a year! Check out these reviews for the top 8 reusable bag brands in 2020. https://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/tools-products/reusable-sandwich-bags

Storage containers (hard plastic, wood, metal, ceramic, glass). If you do not want your sandwich to get smashed, consider a storage container. There are also several great bento lunch box options for lunches with multiple items.

Mason jars, sizes range from 4 oz. to 1 gallon. These jars are inexpensive, sturdy, come in several sizes and have many useful purposes in addition to storing food. They also make nice vases. organizing knick knacks, and canning of course! Storage containers and jars are more leak proof and better at protecting food from get smashed when finding room for leftovers in the fridge than a plastic resealable bag.

Beeswax wraps– Are easy to wash and come in many different sizes. You can easily make these at home with your favorite fabric pattern to customize them to your tastes and needs. They make great homemade, and useful gifts, visit the link below to learn how to make these in a snap! https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/craft-ideas/g25642328/diy-beeswax-reusuable-wraps/

Reuse

Take-out containers are a great alternative to storing leftover lasagna or packing a lunch for work. If you like to be thrifty but you do not want to give up resealable bags, one option is to wash bags for reuse. They can be washed in the top rack of a dishwasher or hand washed. It is not recommended to reuse bags that handled raw meat to avoid contaminating food with salmonella.

Do not stop at storage bags. You can reuse bags that your favorite starchy food came it. For example, if you used your last tortilla to make a wrap for lunch, use the tortilla bag to store your wrap.

Recycle

Clean and dry resealable bags can be recycled at major store chains along with plastic shopping and produce bags can. Visit Kroger to see what types of flexible packaging is accepted at their stores. Plastic bags that are discarded in the recycling bins are typically downcycled- turned into a product with a lower plastic quality than the source materials. Whether plastic bags get recycled (downcycled), landfilled or used as fuel depends on market conditions for that material. Recycling bags should be the last option in being conscious of your bag usage. Evaluate whether reducing or reusing storage bags is an option that fits your lifestyle before opting for recycling bags.

http://sustainability.kroger.com/products-sustainable-product-packaging.html