Plastic bread tags are ubiquitous. They don't just close bread bags; you can find them on plastic mesh produce bags, and tons of other supermarket items. How many plastic bread tags do you throw away per year? I know that I'm probably responsible for throwing at least two per week into the garbage. Multiply that by everyone in the USA who buys bags of pita bread, loaves of bread, and bags of produce, and that's one massive pile of plastic!

One way to reduce the amount of solid waste that you produce is to upcycle the things that you'd otherwise throw away. Plastic bread tags have a lot of potential uses. These six are practical and easy.

bread clip collection1. Bread tags as cord labels: You know how cords get tangled up under desks? When you need to unplug or move one, you end up unplugging and moving all of them. Eliminate that problem and reduce plastic waste by repurposing bread tags as cord labels. Simple write the name of the device that each cord connects, and place the bread tag on the cord. It's such an easy way to organize your technology.

2. Mini-scrapers: Bread tags are hard plastic and have a good edge on them. That's why they work really well as scrapers. They're especially good for getting into nooks and crannies that are too small for larger scrapers. Use bread tag mini scrapers to remove baked-on food in the corners of baking pans.

3. Garden label: Write the name of the kind of plant in each pot on a plastic bread tag, and then affix each tag to the edge of its respective pot. It's a cheap and easy way to stay organized when you're starting plants in trays.

4. Tape marker: Isn't it frustrating when you lose the business end of a roll of tape? Solve that common annoyance by using a plastic bread tag as a tape marker. Just fold the end of the tape over the plastic bread tag, and your tape will be ready to use next time you reach for it.

5. Use a bread tag as a guitar pick: This is a real MacGyver solution! If you're ever without a guitar pick when you need one, take the tag off a loaf of bread. Turn the open end away from the guitar (that end will catch in the strings) and strum with the flat end of the tag.

6. Use a bread tag as a hair tie clip: When you travel, it's so easy to lose your hair ties. Keep them all in one place by sliding each one into the opening of a single bread tag. It's so easy to do, and will save you the frustration of needing a hair elastic but not being able to find one.

With tricks like these, you can do good things for the Earth and also for your organizing and decluttering efforts.

Chaya Kurtz originally wrote this story for It is reprinted with permission here.

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Bread clips photo: Abbey Hendrickson/Flickr
6 clever reuses for plastic bread tags
Here are some practical ways to use that pile of plastic thingies that you can't bear to just throw away.