Monday, July 6, 2015

It's in the (Reused) Bag by MCR Melissa G.

Cereal bags are not recyclable.
Photo Credit: John Koetsler
We aren’t crafty folks. Our “reusing” doesn’t include turning would-be garbage into cool art work or fashion pieces. However, we are serious about finding ways to reuse the items in our house that can’t be recycled or composted.

While we aspire to being a zero-waste household, the reality is that some of our food still comes in packaging. A loaf of bread or my favorite black bean burgers, as examples.

Clean bread bags and many other kinds of plastic bags are recyclable in Edmonton's system, but some food packaging is difficult to recycle. Chip bags and cereal or cracker box liners, for example, go in the garbage. It’s a fate that is unavoidable, but we try to postpone it for a while.

Cats care about the environment too!
That's where all the birds live...
Our chosen course of action is to put all of our used food bags in a kitty drawer. From then on they are designated for use in disposing of our kitty’s “business”.

It's not a big thing, but it gives the bags a second use and more importantly, it prevents us from having to use additional new, clean bags to dispose of our Kitty’s unmentionables.

I have had people complain to me that a plastic bag ban wouldn’t be good because they need them to dispose of their pets' business. I would be interested to hear other peoples’ ideas for disposing of their pet waste in an environmentally-friendly manner (that conforms with City bylaws!), without using so many bags!

Melissa is a graduate of the 2014 Master Composter Recycler course. She is an environmental lawyer with a national not-for-profit organization. She is particularly passionate about educating people about waste reduction. In her spare time she enjoys weight training, hiking and cooking.


  1. What a great idea Melissa! I will pass that along to my friends with fur babies!

  2. I use compostable cat litter and put all the wet litter into the compost. I usually put the solids in the centre of thecompost because my cat goes outside and uses the vegetable garden in spring and it is too late for me to get pregnant.

    I am glad to have the biogas/incinerater operating. That changes many non-recyclable into fuels.