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It’s in the bag!

As the year winds down, so too does the use of plastic shopping bags. As of January 17, 2013, the Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance goes into effect, stating that “Businesses shall not provide plastic checkout bags to their customers” for free, but they “may make plastic checkout bags available for purchase for one calendar year” up to January 16, 2014, according to the County website. Single-use plastic shopping bags will be replaced by paper packages, as well as reusable shopping bags, provided at the consumer’s expense.

Did you know:

It takes a thousand years for a plastic bag to degrade.

According to NOAA, plastic single-use shopping bags are deadly to marine and wildlife.

And, approximately 500 million plastic bags are used in Hawaii each year.

Those bags will be a thing of the past soon enough, but for the ones still floating around, there are lots of fun and creative ways to recycle them just in time for the holidays.

RECYCLED WREATH

Instead of buying a holiday wreath that will rot away, make one out of old single-use plastic bags and an old hanger. This can be a fun family craft that will last for holidays to come. Simply bend the wire hanger into a rounded or oval shape, whichever you prefer. Leave the hook intact as that will be how you hang your creation. Then cut strips of the plastic bags approximately two inches in width. You will probably need a couple dozen bags to achieve a full and fluffy wreath. Just tie the strips with a knot around the wire, trim any excess so they are all even and you are ready to start decking the halls. And bonus: your wreath can withstand the Big Island’s wet weather without any problem.

REUSE WRAPPING

Plastic bags of all sizes can be cut out into flat sheets and used to wrap gifts, but what about adding that little holiday pizzazz? You can make decorative pom poms and bows for your presents in any size you need. Cut the plastic bag into strips, as wide as you prefer, but two inches would suffice. Stack the strips, leaving a few on the side to tie the bow together. Cut the strips in half so they resemble a rectangle and stack them in bunches. Use one of the long strips you put aside to tie a knot around the center of the stack and then just fluff up the edges and affix to your gift. Play around with strip sizes and shapes, colors and logos to achieve a unique decoration. And bonus: these pom poms can be used as holiday decorations too because they look a little like snowballs.

There are lots of creative and thoughtful ways to make single-use bags reusable so think outside of the box.