I’ve heard this question quite a few times—
Can I reuse plastic bags for food?
The answer is, of course you can! But, the real question should be should you reuse plastic bags? The plastic bags I’m talking about are the plastic zippered bags that you use to store food, like Ziploc bags and Glad bags.
I’m actually pretty split on this issue. On one hand, they’re pretty expensive, especially if you use a lot of them, like we do. So, of course I want to reuse Ziploc bags to save a little extra cash. On the other hand, the thought of reusing plastic bags for food kind of eeks me out to be honest. I mean, these are the plastic bags that we’re storing food in. The risk of contamination and bacteria laden plastic bags is very real. After all, they’re designed to be disposable for a reason.
After a little more thought and research on this issue, I’ve come to a very simple conclusion. You can reuse some plastic bags sometimes.
It’s generally not a good idea to reuse plastic bags that have been previously used to store meat or poultry. The risk of contamination is just too high. On the other hand, some people are completely comfortable with this idea, provided that the bags have been washed very well. Some people have even mentioned storing plastic bags that have held meat int he freezer to keep bacteria at bay.
I, myself, wouldn’t reuse plastic bags that have previously held meat to store other types of food. It’s just a personal preference and a risk I’m not willing to take. Food poisoning is not on my list of life experiences that I’d like to repeat.
There’s also the issue of washing the plastic bags you plan to reuse. Throwing them in the dishwasher is obviously not the best idea, so hand washing them it is. Of course, not all plastic bags will be so dirty that they need a good scrubbing. Some may just need a quick rinse before they’re ready to reuse. When you’re done washing them, they can be air dried and stored away for next time.
I’m still on the fence about whether or not to reuse plastic bags. I’ll probably take a few baby steps and reuse plastic bags that aren’t too soiled at first for non-food items. It should give me an idea of whether or not it’s worth it to wash and rinse them, or if I should just stick to buying them.