By now, you may have successfully rid yourself of plastic grocery bags because you are diligently carrying your reusable bags to the stores. Yet, you still end up with plastic bags. Don’t throw them out immediately. You can always find a second use for them before they hit the landfill.

Bread bags, cereal box bags, frozen vegetable bags, newspaper bags, plastic wrappers from magazines and birthday party goody bags… these are just a few of the plastic bags that end up in a big stoneware pitcher I keep full of bags in my kitchen. Then I can reuse them for things like:

Wrapping produce before putting it in the refrigerator. When I buy produce, I rarely use the plastic produce bags. Sometimes, though, the produce will wilt if it’s put in the refrigerator without a bag or a container. I use things like bread bags to put my celery or zucchini in so they don’t get soft. I save a plastic produce bag from being consumed and I get a second use out of an already existing plastic bag.

Cleaning out the cat’s litter box. It’s a dirty job, and I hate to do it, but it’s got to be done. The miscellaneous plastic bags come in handy for the job. If I had a dog, I’m sure I could put the bags to a similar use.

Double wrapping baked goods that are going in the freezer. A second bagging helps foods from getting freezer burn.

Throwing out bones. When I’ve got bones from a chicken, I wrap them in one of these bags before taking them out to the garbage. Hint: In the warm months, you really don’t want chicken bones or any other animal products hanging out in your garbage cans for too long. They can start to smell and attract critters. If there are several days before trash collection, wrap the remains in the plastic bags and stick them in the freezer until trash day. Then throw them in the trash on pick-up day, and they’ll probably still be half frozen by the time they are hauled away. No smell. No critters.

Sending leftover pizza in the boys' lunches. My boys like room temperature leftover pizza in their lunchbox. It’s better than the garbage the school would feed them.

What other uses can you think of for these plastic bags that would otherwise go straight in the trash?

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Kitchen recycling tip: plastic bags
Ideas for reusing plastic bags at least once before they hit the landfill.