Let's face it: as humanity we've already created enough waste to keep on producing more. But finding zero-waste alternatives is a tough and sometimes impossible task. That's where upcycling comes in.
In this article we'll share some of our favorite ideas on how to give second life to plastic bags and boxes.
Plastic Bag with Zips
One of the most commonly used packaging materials globally is plastic bags. In Canada alone, over 15 billion plastic bags are used every year. Approximately 3 million tons of these end up in landfills and freshwater environments.
This is why the Canadian government intends to institute a ban on single-use plastics in 2022. However, before the ban takes place, there are several ways you can help reduce the number of plastics ending up in landfills.
Here are some of the ways you can upcycle plastic bags with zips.
Use to Carry Wet or Dirty Clothes
You can use zip-lock plastic bags to store dirty or wet clothes after doing active sports. If you're hiking, you can use such plastic bags to store muddy boots.
And it's not just boots.
You can also use zip-lock plastic bags to store your wet bathing suit or any dirty laundry you may accrue during your hiking trips.
Store Documents So They Don't Get Wet
How do you store your documents while backpacking? Some people choose to use a travel document organizer, while others hold them in their backpacks.
However, plastic bags with zips could perform the same function but at a lower price.
With Ziplock plastic bags, you protect your boarding pass, passport, accommodation confirmations, and any other documents from unexpected rain while you're out on the trail.
Store Compostable Waste
As someone who loves nature, you already know about the 'leave no trace' rules.
One of the best ways to ensure you leave no trace is by using plastic bags to store your waste. Whether it's coffee husks, orange peelings, apple seeds, or any other compostable waste, zip-lock plastic bags will help keep out the smell.
And it's not only compostable waste.
You can also use zip lock bags to store used tissue paper and personal hygiene items until you get to a proper waste disposal site.
Store Sanitary Stuff
If you're traveling for several days, you can use plastic bags to store your toothbrush, soap, and shampoo, among other sanitary stuff.
Having a zip-lock plastic bag helps to prevent sanitary stuff from accidentally getting your other items dirty.
Organize your Clothes
Our article on multifunctional products mentioned how you can use packing cubes to keep your clothes organized. But did you know you can use larger plastic bags as packing cubes?
You can use these bags to separate different articles of clothing for easier accessibility when on a trip. Have one bag for pants, another for t-shirts, another for underwear and another for socks.
Keep Your Gear Dry
If you plan to hike in a place that experiences frequent rains, you'll need to find a way to keep your gear dry.
One way to do this is by investing in a high-quality waterproof bag.
But if buying a new bag is out of the question, you can use plastic bags to keep your gear dry. Store different gear in separate plastic bags to keep them dry.
And it's not only gear.
You can also use smaller plastic bags with zips to help keep your phone dry. With such a bag, you'll be able to use your phone even in the rain, without the fear of it getting damaged by water.
Do you remember the small carton packaging that came with your phone? What did you do with it?
You probably tossed it.
But did you know that you can reuse this small carton packaging to pack gifts?
To do this, you'll need to either paint or use decorating paper to change the box's appearance. You can use such boxes to pack jewelry and other small gifts.
If you've been looking for a way to organize your shoes and have carton boxes lying around, you can consider making a DIY shoe rack.
All you need for this project is glue, cloth material to decorate the boxes and approximately 1 hour.
Not only will you be reducing the amount of waste going to landfills, but you'll also get to save the money you'd have spent on a new shoe rack.
You can also use carton boxes to store some of your documents.
If you collect receipts or have several of your documents lying around, you can use carton boxes to help you organize and reduce clutter.
You can use old shoe boxes to help store memories. This includes old photos, trinkets, letters to your future self, and other souvenirs.
Going through the contents of such a box in the future is bound to put a smile on your face.
So rather than throwing out the box that came with your hiking boots, use it to store memories.
If you have a cat, you can upcycle medium-sized carton boxes and convert them into your pet's accommodation.
With a bit of creativity, you can create a small bedroom for your cat.
If you have kittens, you can also use an old box as the kitten nursery. Just be sure to make it as comfortable as possible.
It’s Time We All Played our Role
There you go!
Some of the ways you can upcycle packaging material. Which of these strategies will you incorporate into your life? Tell us in the comment section below.
Do you have any questions or additional strategies on how to reuse packaging material? Please leave them in the comment section below.
And if you're looking to purchase high-quality outdoor apparel made from a brand that cares about the environment, please check out our online shop here. Every purchase you make with us plants a tree.
Let's all play our part in improving our planet.
Upwards and Onwards with Northbound Gear.