How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint With Reusable Sandwich Bags

How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint With Reusable Sandwich Bags

How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint With Reusable Sandwich Bags

Why Use Reusable Sandwich Bags?

Single-use plastic bags and wraps contribute significantly to plastic pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. By switching to reusable sandwich bags, I can make a difference. Here’s why I should use reusable sandwich bags:

  • They reduce my plastic waste and consumption. The average person uses around 300 plastic sandwich bags per year. Those bags end up in landfills or polluting the environment. Reusables avoid all that waste.

  • They have a lower carbon footprint. The production, transportation, and disposal of single-use bags all emit greenhouse gases. Reusables are used over and over so their footprint is much lower.

  • They save me money. Although reusable bags have a higher upfront cost, they pay for themselves over time. I’ll avoid constantly buying disposable sandwich bags.

  • They come in convenient shapes, sizes, and materials like silicone, cotton, or washable plastic. I can find the right reusable bags for my needs.

  • They are safe and sanitize well. Most reusable sandwich bag materials are dishwasher safe and can be sterilized to avoid bacteria buildup.

Purchasing Reusable Sandwich Bags

When I’m ready to make the switch to reusables, here’s what to consider when purchasing:

Materials

  • Silicone -Flexible, washable, stain resistant, durable. Can withstand hot and cold temperatures.

  • Cotton – Breathable and absorbent fabric. Needs frequent washing to avoid odors. Best for dry contents.

  • Plastic – Durable and waterproof. Look for BPA-free food-safe plastic. Avoid PVC plastic.

  • Beeswax wrap – Breathable cotton coated with beeswax. Clings to containers and food. Needs refrigeration.

Sizes

  • Sandwich – Holds a standard sandwich. Look for ~5 x 7 inches.

  • Snack – For wraps, chips, cookies. Around 3 x 5 inches.

  • Mini – For cut fruit, small snacks. Approx. 2.5 x 3.5 inches.

  • Gallon – For salads, bulk items. Usually ~10 x 12 inches.

Closures

  • Zipper – Airtight seal, best for liquids. Can be prone to breaking.

  • Snaps – Easy open and close. Not 100% leakproof.

  • Velcro – Secure seal, allows for ventilation.

  • Ties – For wraps and wax bags. Loosen and tighten as needed.

Using Reusable Bags in My Routine

Integrating reusable sandwich bags into my daily routine takes some preparation but soon becomes a habit. Here are some tips:

Washing

  • Handwash bags with hot water and soap. Avoid abrasive scouring.

  • Sanitize regularly by boiling, steaming, or washing bags in diluted bleach.

  • Air dry open to prevent mold. Pat beeswax wraps dry.

Storing

  • Keep bags together in one spot so I can grab and go.

  • Pile or roll bags to minimize space. Use clips or elastics to keep sets together.

  • Store wax wraps in the fridge if my home is warm. The cold prolongs their life.

Packing

  • Determine which size bag I need for each food item. Avoid overstuffing.

  • Double bag wet and messy foods like yogurt in a lined silicone pouch.

  • For sandwiches, layer ingredients in the bag so the bread doesn’t get soggy.

  • Squeeze out excess air and seal the bag tightly before heading out.

On the Go

  • Bring a small wet bag to stash used/dirty bags in until I can wash them at home.

  • Rinse bags that held messy foods as soon as possible when I’m out and about.

  • Air dry rinsed bags on a towel or napkin if I won’t be home for awhile.

Making the Switch for Good

The thought of eliminating plastic sandwich bags and keeping track of reusables may seem daunting. But with the right gear and habits, I can successfully make the switch. Here are some final tips:

  • Start slow by using reusables for just one meal per day, not your whole routine. Build up from there.

  • Find bags I like and stock up so I always have clean ones available.

  • Put a reminder note on my lunchbox or fridge until using reusables becomes automatic.

  • Get my family on board to share the reusables responsibility.

  • Feel good knowing I’m reducing waste and emissions with each reusable bag used!

Implementing reusable sandwich and snack bags is an easy, affordable way to lighten my environmental footprint. With some adjustments, I can make reusables a simple part of my daily routine. Along with other sustainability measures, using reusable bags allows me to help protect the planet for future generations.