Thursday, March 24, 2011

Make It Yourself: Sandwich Bag Dryer

Regardless of what I do we always seem to have plastic sandwich bags.  I'd really like to break our habit of using them and although we have cut back we still end up needing one every now and then.  One thing that helps is washing the ones we do use for dry goods or non-meat products and reusing them.  This way they are at least getting more than one use before being thrown away and we buy them less often.  I didn't have a way to dry them so the dirty ones were stacking up in the sink.  I looked into purchasing a dryer like this one but most of the reviews I read said that eventually the wood will mold or rot because of the water, most are made in China and they can be pricey - some over $20.00 with shipping.  Then I came across this video by Michelle Kaufman - eco home designer.  I had to try it for myself.  I'm happy to say that it works!  I haven't been throwing bags away and have been cleaning and reusing the ones I have.


Wire - I used 16 Gauge Steel Galvanized Wire but Michelles Kaufman used wire coat hangers
A few small flower pots
Seeds or plants to go in your pots


Start by taking about 1 foot of your wire.  You can either just fold over one end to make a small circle, being sure to tuck in your cut end, or you can get crafty and make a design on the end - I made little flowers.

Next, stick these in your flower pots.

That's it!  After washing a bag, just place it upside down over your metal wire.  The water will drip down into the flower pot and eventually dry.

The cost breakdown:

So, is it worth it to make your own sandwich bag dryer or buy one at the store?

Pliers - free (almost all households have these - if not, just use your hands)
Flower pots / flowers - If you don't have any small pots you can usually buy these at any garden or superstore for less then 2 dollars.  I was able to get individual plants at Ace Hardware for $1.00 a piece which included enough dirt so I didn't have to buy that.  So I estimate that if you got 4 pots at $1.50 each and 4 flowers at $1.00 total this would cost about $10.00
Wire - You can use wire coat hangers if you have them - that's free.  If not, buy a galvanized wire (so it won't rust).  I was able to find this online for $5.49 but you can also buy this at many home improvement stores.

Total the most you would spend on this is $15.49 and depending on how big your flower pots are you should be able to fit about 2-3 wires in each pot leaving you with about 8-12 arms for drying bags.  I used flower pots and flowers I already had so really I only had to buy the wire, but like I mentioned you could just use an old coat hanger and then you wouldn't have to purchase anything.


Gaiam Countertop Plastic Bag Dryer which is $17.71 on Amazon.

The bottom line: if you bought everything from scratch you may only save a few dollars, however I think that the flower pot idea is more appealing - I have four pots with bag dryer wire in them sitting in my kitchen window and I just love how it looks.  You could even make them more useful by growing herbs to cook with in them.  Also, we have been trying to purchase things made in the USA or avoid buying something made in another country together so being able to make it is really nice.  Again, if you have a few flower pots and a coat hanger you get away with not purchasing anything and then you'd save almost $20.00.  Just another thing you can make yourself!

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