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6 surprising bags you can use for a litter pick

Here at we like to take care of the world we live in.

We do this in many ways; packing our mugs in only cardboard (or we reuse bubble wrap if a mug has a long way to travel), reducing the amount of single use plastic that we buy (shampoo soap is our latest discovery – hurrah!) and picking up litter as and when we find it.

Since the 1st January, we’ve become something of litter picking experts due to the fact that Claire decided her New Year Resolution was to pick up 20 pieces of litter each and every day. No matter the weather, Claire has been out with her grabbers, picking up the random pieces of litter that just seem to appear.

6 surprising bags for your litter pick*

To make this Challenge easier, Claire has been using a variety of bags that would normally just go straight in the bin. And she’s discovered that some bags are great for picking up litter. To help you, should you also feel inclined to join the growing army of litter-pickers around the world, Claire has created this list of six surprising bags you can use to do a litter pick. Thusly:

The bag that your bread or bagels come in.

Bread and bagel bags are surprisingly LARGE bags which means you can use them to collect quite a lot of random pieces of litter. They are also very flexible, which means they won’t break too easily; leaving you able to collect litter in complete confidence. Of course, if possible, you can also recycle these bags too!

Any bag which comes with a zip-lock close on it.

It might be a frozen peas bag, or a sweets bag – doesn’t matter what was originally in the bag. The magic happens with the fact that the zip-lock means you can use this bag when you might not have a bin handy once you’ve finished. Rather than carrying a wiffy bag around, you can just zip-lock the bag, stick it in your rucksack and take it home with you. Genius.

The charity bags that come through your door.

I’m pretty sure you are supposed to give these back, but I tried that once, and they were never collected. Instead, we tend to use them as bin bags, which is pretty cool. In fact, I don’t think we’ve had to buy bin bags for a couple of years because the combination of us getting loads of charity bags through the door; and us being pretty ruthless with rubbish, means we don’t use many at all. Since beginning my year long challenge, I’ve also discovered that these bags are brilliant for when you have discovered an area with a lot of non-heavy but bulky litter like plastic bottles.

The little bags that nuts come in.

These bags might seem too small to be useful, but you’d be wrong. They are the perfect size to collect cigarette butts. Yes, I know cigarette butts are disgusting – which is why I always use my grabber to pick them up – but they are also absolutely horrendous for the environment, so I often just head out to collect cigarette butts. The problem is that they are so small, I hate to use a big bag for them because it feels so wasteful. Hence those little bags. Perfect for about 30 butts!

Crisp and cereal bags.

If your crisp or cereal habit is bigger than you’d like, you can at least put the bags to good use. Small crisp packets are great for holding cigarette butts (see nut bags above). The big bags of crisps that are supposed to be for sharing, or the inner cereal bag are great for a medium sized #2minutelitterclean – especially on a windy day because they tend to stay open so you aren’t fighting to put the rubbish in once you’ve picked it up.

Birthday card bags.

You’ve probably never even noticed that birthday cards (and most other cards too, in fact) come in a little transparent bag – perfect for popping those small items of litter in – such as those much mentioned cigarette butts.

Bonus bag.

I’ve started keeping small flexible bags in my pocket that I can use as a ‘glove’ whenever I spot litter but hadn’t planned on picking any up. I don’t get to the beach as often as I’d like, which means most of the litter I come across hasn’t been washed by the sea and if often pretty skanky. The last thing I want to do is touch it with my fingers – hence the brilliance of those little bags.

In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have to use bags for picking up litter – there wouldn’t be any litter to pick up. And, if we are being ambitious, there also wouldn’t be loads of random plastic bags that could be used either. But seeing as the world isn’t quite yet ideal, and doing a little something to improve things is better than doing nothing, maybe you’ll be inspired to pop a bag in your pocket when you head off on your next adventure.

*you can also use the bags that toilet paper comes in, veggie sausage bags, frozen pea or sweetcorn bags, the bags that carrots and potatoes come in, or even the bags that school shirts are packed in. The list is, unfortunately, almost endless…(sad face)

But at least, when you have picked up some litter, you can feel very justified in making yourself a lovely cuppa in a very lovely mug!