Kitchens offer many reuse and reuse opportunities and today I hope to inspire you with some ideas that can save money too.

Brown paper bags, while reusable, recyclable, and compostable, can also be useful in the kitchen. Open a clean paper bag so it lies flat, inside side up, on a large cooling rack. Place freshly baked cookies on paper to cool; the paper will absorb excess grease and the used paper bag will remain compostable.

Both plastic bags and aluminum foil can be reused multiple times before being recycled; hand wash, dry and store until needed. Once they have come in contact with the meat, discard them; recycling centers don’t want them either. Once a large plastic bag has a leak or the zipper seal fails or something like that, they can be cut to form a sheet. This can be used as a foldout sheet for kitchen and craft projects or as a temporary cover to start with garden seeds. Alternatively, if the blade is very clean, you can use it in place of wax paper for freezing, such as separating meat or vegetable patties. And did you know that wax paper is compostable?

Speaking of wax paper, consider washing the liners of wax paper cereal, cookie, or cookie boxes. Once the wax paper ‘bag’ is completely dry, use a sharp pair of scissors and cut the seam and ragged edges so you have a clean sheet. At this point, you may want to go ahead and cut the sheet into 3 “square pieces. They don’t need to be perfect squares. You may have other uses that call for 4” squares or you might want to store some full sheets. also. Store in a zip-top plastic bag in the closet where you have muffin liners and rolls of aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Store clean foil sheets in the same way.

Having squares or sheets on hand, ready to go when you need them, stretches the budget a bit more because you will have to buy fewer boxes of aluminum foil, plastic, and wax paper. Imagine in your mind all the boxes, little metal strips to tear the sheets off the roll, the cardboard roll itself, and all the time shopping to get these various rolls of items in your closet. By reusing them, you get dramatically less packaging, fewer things to buy, less waste, and less time at the grocery store. Reuse really pays us back for the effort we put in.

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