Friday, January 14, 2011

Second Hand Bags

One of the joys of working in a preschool with two year olds is doing diaper duty.  We have eight or nine students each day, and only one of them is potty trained.  I'm one of two assistants in the room, and we take turns by day doing the diapering. After snack, each child goes into the bathroom for a diaper change.  ("Dirty" ones, of course, are done on an as-needed basis.)

Per the school's staff manual, each diaper is deposited in a plastic bag, then put into a trash can which is emptied nightly by the cleaning lady.  Many of the employees and volunteers recycle their plastic bags by bringing them in to use for diapering, but we still go through more than we can collect. I'm no help; instead of plastic I use cloth bags.

Last month when our classroom bag stash was empty, I went across the hall to borrow some bags from another classroom.  I asked the assistant how her room kept on top of the situation, and she said when their inventory gets low she goes to a grocery store and takes some from the bag recycling bin. What a concept!  I didn't know you could do that.

Yesterday I used the last of the bags in our bathroom, so I decided to gather some today as I was running errands. My last stop was at a store that has a large collection container outside their lesser-used door.  I made my purchase, then left using the door close to the bag bin, feeling a bit apprehensive.  Was I doing something wrong?  What if someone yelled at me for taking the bags?

Thankfully, I didn't have any problems.  When I got to the bin, I was able to reach inside and pull out a bag that had been stuffed full of bags.  Nobody even noticed what I was doing.  Because of my ingenuity, our classroom now has enough bags for a couple of days worth of diapers.


  1. i've actually taken bags from those bins! i, too, wondered if the plastic bag recycling police would allow it! i believe some crafters routinely take them to make more bags with. looks like recycling to me.

  2. Well... you're not Recycling but you are Reusing which is one of the other important Rs. The other R is Reduce which you do by using cloth bags. :-)

  3. I may steal this idea! I use cloth totes for my groceries, so I'm running out of plastic bags that I sometimes need for this or that—reusing others' bags is a great idea. (We have the same kind of bin in the entry of our grocery store.)